The past week was an unusually quiet week around the parsonage. It enabled me to do something that I have wanted to do all summer long. Nothing. I am not bragging or anything, but I can do nothing right up there with the best of them.
The week, as all weeks do, started on Monday. For me, there is always something about a Monday morning. And this Monday morning was going to set the tone for the rest of the week.
It all began when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage made one of her announcements. I live for these announcements, because I know it will affect my whole week."Our daughter and I," she said rather matter-of-factly, "will be going out of town for the entire day on Thursday."
This came as a rather shock to me for I had not been forewarned. And you know what they say about being forewarned. However, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I will take what I can take when I can take it.
Apparently, our daughter was going to take her daughter to visit friends for an entire week and wanted my wife to go along to keep her company. Trying to hide my delight in the whole matter, I soberly said, "Is there anything I can do for you for your trip?"
Evidently, my offer was not heard because the next words out of my wife’s mouth were, "Now, here's the list I made for you for while I'm away. Make sure you do everything on that list."
I graciously accepted "The List" and glanced at it casually. If I did everything on that list, she would have to be gone for a month. I smiled as I folded "The List" and tucked it into my shirt pocket.
This is what I love about my Beloved. She is always thinking of me. Even when she is planning to be away, she takes the time to plan my day. I could not ask for a better helpmeet in all the wide world. I promised her that I would take special care of "The List" while she was away for the day. Fortunately for me, I did not define what I meant by "special care." After being married as long as I have there are certain things not appropriate to divulge to your Better Half.
For the rest of the week she was busy making her plans and I, for my part, stayed out of her way as much as possible. My motto being, never interrupt somebody who is busy about his or her business.
Finally, the day arrived. Early that morning the three of them – grandmother, mother and daughter – loaded up the car and began their journey. I stood in the doorway and waved until I could no longer see the car, and then I waved for three more minutes just to make sure the job was done.
After I shut the door I sighed very deeply, toddled over to my easy chair with a nice hot cup of coffee, and began my day's activities. Oh sure, I read over "The List" several times and then folded it neatly up and put it back in my shirt pocket. As I patted my shirt pocket, I said to myself, "I plan to take special care of this list."
Knowing all the things I was supposed to do as outlined in "The List," I decided to do things not on that list. After all, I was now captain of my ship and I decided to live rather dangerously for the day.
After pouring myself another hot cup of coffee I ventured out onto the patio and sat down to enjoy the morning and watch the birds play in the backyard. This was living. Nobody could ever accuse me of being afraid of work because I had a whole list of work that needed to be done and I was absolutely doing nothing about it. It gave me a real sense of ownership. Right at this moment, I owned the moment.
I know what you are thinking right now. You're thinking, what are you going to do when your wife comes home? That is the difference between the average person and Yours Truly. I am living in the moment. Whatever happens later on has no bearing whatsoever upon my enjoyment of the moment. I, indeed, may get into some very difficult trouble; however, it is a small price to pay for enjoying my moment.
Not many people really come to the place where they can enjoy their moment in the sun. Some people have grandiose ideas of life to such an extent that they work all their life and never achieve it. Some people work very hard all their life so that they can come to the place where they can do nothing.
I am miles ahead of the ordinary citizen. I find ways in which to enjoy doing nothing wherever I can find it. I purposefully look for those moments and grab them when I can.
Even Jesus gave time to rest. "And he [Jesus] said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat" (Mark 6:31).
I am reminded of another old Pennsylvania Dutch saying; "The hurrier I go the behinder I get."
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship,