I'm sitting here in my office in a state of complete befuddlement.

It's not that I haven't been befuddled before. If anyone knows befuddlement, it is Yours Truly. I've been befuddled many times, and there is good reason to believe the trend will continue in the foreseeable future. If anyone gave out awards for befuddlement, I know I would receive my share of acclaim.

However, and this is a big "however," there is befuddlement and then there is Be-Fuddle-Ment. Unfortunately for me, I am experiencing the latter.

Be-Fuddle-Ment, as everyone knows, is the state or condition of fuddleitis. In spite of great medical advances, there is no known cure. I have never had my fuddle so completely out of whack as now.

Let me put the case before you, and you be the judge.

One day last week, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into my office and stated with more arrogance than I've ever heard before, "Either clean up this office, or else."

It wasn't so much what she said as HOW she said it. I knew, just from the tone of her voice, she was serious about this matter.

My office is a special place. I love my office. It's where all the magic takes place. Things magically disappear in my office never to be seen again. Anything and everything coming into my office is in danger of being out-sourced to places overseas or wherever they go.

As long as I don't have to pay the postage, I don't really care. The only thing I know for sure is they disappear completely and forever.

My wife claims my office is messy. This is absolutely not the case.

Messy implies things are out of place. Aha, this is where my wife, although in a variety of areas quite competent, is completely wrong. Nothing in my office is out of place.

I have a strict rule, "A place for everything and everything in its place."

Any file folder or book coming into my office knows this rule. I go over it thoroughly before I allow anything to come in. For the most part, I don't have any trouble. Therefore, my office is not messy in the commonly accepted use of the term.

I would allow that at times, under certain conditions, some things are temporarily reassigned to space at hand. After all, I do lead a busy life. With all the things I have to do, I don't always have the time to make sure everything is where it should be.

Also, I like keeping things on my desk ever ready for access.

This notwithstanding, my wife issued me an ultimatum: "Clean your office, or else."

Sometime I would like to find out what the "or else" really is. Who knows? It may not be as ominous as she makes it sound. In fact, if the truth were known, the "or else" may be nothing really at all.

The other side of the issue is, if I expose her "or else," she would no longer have anything to hold over me and how could she ever get me to do anything? I am doing this for her sake more than for mine. That's just the kind of guy I am.

For the past two days, I have busied myself with cleaning my office, which has brought me to my current state of Be-Fuddle-Ment.

For one, I found something in my office I had forgotten. My desktop.

But the most important thing is, I now can't find anything else.

My file cabinet is filled with hundreds - yea, thousands - of folders, which, incidentally, have not yet been labeled. That will be my next job.

Sitting proudly on my shelves are notebooks full of "stuff." What "stuff," is beyond me at this point. These, also, have not yet been labeled, although I do intend to label them in the future when I have more time.

As I look around my office, I see the nicely lined bookshelves, the file cabinet gleaming just across from my desk and, best of all, my desk is completely void of any extraneous material.

However, I can't find anything I need.

I know neatness does have its place, but for goodness sake, not in my office.

I can't find my sermon notes for Sunday; next week's column is here somewhere, but where I don't know; and has anyone seen my checkbook?

Prior to the "or else" ultimatum from You Know Who, I could put my finger on anything I really needed. My sermon notes were just a little to the left of my computer keyboard. My column was always on the right side of my computer, on which I used to set my coffee cup. Notice the coffee stains.

Now, nothing is where I can put my hands on it immediately.

What I want to know is, how am I going to get any work done if I can't find the work I need to do?

I'm sitting here not knowing what to do first and I think I hear my file cabinet snickering. There is nothing I hate more than a snickering file cabinet.

One consolation in all this is God is always easy to find. A favorite verse from the Old Testament says, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 KJV).

No matter how cluttered my life may be at any one time, God is only a prayer away.

Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
Used With Permission
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Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.

Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

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