Beware the idleness of March
by James Snyder
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I find it hard to believe March is here already. There was January with nothing much to do and then February with too much to do, now what do we do with March?
March is not winter and it is not spring. It is not cold and it is not hot, so there is really nothing to complain about. The grass has not yet grown so there is no mowing to do. And it is too early to put in the garden.
The danger for the month of March is that it cultivates a certain sense of aimlessness in Yours Truly. I cannot help it, but something about the month inspires idleness, as if I needed any inspiration along this line.
Staring out the window one lazy afternoon the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage snuck up on me and said, “Do you have any plans for today?”
Every husband knows when he is being set up with a trick question. I am not sure where women learn this kind of subterfuge or if they are born thusly equipped. I knew if I said no, she would impose on me plans of her own. If I said yes, she would ask the all-embarrassing question, “What?” At the time, I had no answer in my mind. I was reveling in nothingness.
Making plans has a very nasty conclusion to it. Work. The more plans you make the more work you end up doing. And I knew my wife of almost 40 years is a celebrated master in the art of planology. I believe she has a PhD in this discipline. She can plan at the drop of a hat, which is why I have refused to wear a hat for the last 20 years. Her favorite saying is, “Plan your work and then work your plan.” She always recites it with the biggest of smiles flashed in my direction.
Down through the years she has made an art out of planning. She gets everything down she needs to do and then begins working on prioritizing everything. She even knows how long it will take to do each particular job.
My contention is this. A job that would take me three hours to do she insists it can be done in 39 minutes. Where she gets this is beyond me, but I sometimes think she is guessing at it. It takes me 37 minutes just to get in the mood to do anything.
My thought is simply, if I abstain from planning my work, I have no work to do. I go by the simple rule that if it is not on my personal to-do-list than I have nothing to do, which is A-OK with me.
“Do you have any plans for today?” my wife repeated.
Right on the spot, I tried to think up of something to do. But as is normally the case with me, my “thinking-up-machine” was not plugged in. My mind just went blank. I could not even think of my name at the time.
“Well, if you don’t have anything to do this afternoon I was thinking…”
My trouble always begins when my wife says, “I was thinking.” She is a dangerous person to be around when she is thinking. This is the reason why I keep my thinking to a bare minimum. I do not want to inflict any danger on people around me. I wish she would take more of that same attitude.
At the time, I was not in the mood to do any kind of physical work. My physicality mode was at a minimum. What I wanted to say to her was, “I was planning to go down the street and have a hot fudge sundae.” I almost said it but then bit my tongue because I knew if I would say it, I would be the recipient of her ire. And her ire does not go well with a hot fudge sundae.
It was the kind of day that a nice hot fudge sundae was on my mind. Of course, you name the day and the time and I am ready for a hot fudge sundae.
Depleted of ideas I replied, “No, my dear, I have no plans for the day.”
Smiling at me she said, “I was thinking it would be a nice afternoon to go out for a nice hot fudge sundae. What you think of that?”
I did not have to think about that, believe me. It is so nice when two minds merge into one blessed thought. It does not happen often, but when it does, it is a wonderful thing to experience.
Thirty-nine minutes later, we were sitting across from each other enjoying a most delicious hot fudge sundae. I finally looked over at her, smiled and said, “You know, this was the best thought you’ve had in a long time.”
She smiled and continued enjoying her hot fudge sundae.
I could not help thinking about a verse in the Bible. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV).
Sometimes people have the idea that God’s thoughts about them are harsh and judgmental. The reality is, God has good thoughts toward us, thoughts of peace. We underestimate the grace and love of God available to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
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I very much enjoy hot fudge sundaes, too. Sometimes when I am ask about my plans for the day, I just say "I plan to do nothing"....we all have a laugh. I really enjoy your writings.
Hot fudge sundae!? Gosh your wife is a nice lady! But the Bible also say, "Unless a man worketh... he does not eateth!"