Did I Just Blow My Cover?

This month I celebrate another birthday. At my age, I cannot remember exactly which one but that does not really matter. The number of the birthday, in my point of view, does not influence the celebration of the birthday.

Life has been rather good to me in many respects. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I are a wonderful team and have been for so many years; I’m not allowed to say how many.

As a team, she can fix anything and I can break anything. That certainly goes hand-in-hand with life. No matter what I can break, she can fix. This has made life rather good.

Throughout life, I have gone under the ruse that when it comes to fixing things I am all thumbs and no fingers. I cannot seem to fix anything. Of course, if it can be fixed with a hammer I might try. When anything goes wrong in our house, I offer to fix it and my wife steps in most gallantly and retires me to my easy chair.

When I try to fix something it usually turns out worse than when I started.

I am not sure if I have created this ruse or if I really am “all thumbs.”

Regardless of the situation, as long as she can fix it, I’m comfortable in breaking it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t break things on purpose. At least, I do not think I do. At my age, what’s thinking got to do with anything? It just happens that I have the knack of breaking things.

Nobody has ever created anything that I cannot in some way break.

So, life has been wonderful and I hope it continues to be wonderful and it will be as long as both of us stay to our role in the marriage. When I try to take over her spot or she tries to take over my spot, there is trouble a’ stirring.

Everything was going wonderfully until something happened this past week.

One thing my wife enjoys is mowing the lawn. I am not allowed to ride the lawnmower and I am not quite sure why at this point. However, if it makes her happy, it makes me happy. She spends many happy hours mowing the grass.

It is not so much that I don’t like to mow, but she likes to mow much better than I do and of course, she does a much better job at it. She knows how to keep that lawnmower running and if the engine sounds a little off key, she knows exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it and she does.

My responsibility is to give her a hand whenever I can. When she passes the front porch, I stand up and applaud as she goes by. It’s the least I can do.

Then this past week brought in a new picture. She was mowing the grass when, unbeknownst to her, she ran over a long dog chain the neighbor had somehow got into our lawn. By the time she realized what had happened, the chain had twisted all over the blades of that mower.

She pulled the mower up to the house, turned it off and began repairing it. The wire was all twisted very tightly around one of the blades under the mower. She pulled, yanked and twisted, but nothing happened.

I walked up to her and said, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Without even looking at me she said, “No, I got everything under control.”

What I have learned throughout life is never contradict your wife. That’s the recipe for a cooked goose.

I let her go and about a half-hour later, I noticed the lawnmower was not running. I went around to see what was happening and found her still trying to untwist that wire from the mower blades.

I could see she was rather frustrated and had gotten nowhere with unraveling that wire.

“Why don’t you let me look at it?” I asked as calmly as possible.

“You can look at it,” she said kind of exasperated, “but I don’t think there’s anything you can do.”

I try to help whenever I can and I know that my “help” is rather limited compared to hers. I thought I owed it to her to look at it and exclaim, “Wow, that sure is twisted.”

I looked at it for a while, began juggling with some of the wires and discovered one wire that seemed to be a little looser than any of the other wires. I tugged and pulled at it and within about five minutes, I had all of the wire unraveled from the mower blade.

“There,” I said as calmly as possible. “I think I got it all fixed for you.”

She looked at me rather quizzically; she got down to look at the blade and exclaimed, “My goodness. You really did fix it. This must be a first.”

When she said that a light went off inside my darkened mind and I thought to myself, “This better not be the beginning of anything!”

A verse of Scripture started scampering through my mind. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

In Loving Contemplation

Today I find myself thinking how blessed I am and that my children are an inexplicable gift from God. I remember a lot of little things about my enchanting daughter, which I am afraid will fade away like sand through my fingers if too much time passes. Haven’t you ever loved someone so much that every minute that has passed with them is like a wisp of smoke in the air that you can see but cannot bring back?

When she was but a little child with ringlets caught behind her ear, I would often find her reading oblivious to everything around her. She would curl up on the carpet with her knees tucked up behind her and a book open in front of her with her little fingers twiddling each page delicately as if to not disrupt the fibers. Neil Armstrong could scarcely have felt more wonder on the moon than my little girl felt through the pages of those new books which she bought in the little shops all over town holding my hand.

There were times when I took her to the beach to swim and play in the sand like children her own age but she preferred to seek the shade and enjoy her book!. Her love for the written word always arose from an innate place within her and I could never seek credit for it. When I think about both of my children, they are vastly different. My son likes to create things and be in the outdoors and has no interest in reading but for the life of me I do not want them to be the same. I am glad God sought to make them apart in every way.

On this seemingly silent contemplative afternoon, I do not pretend that I can understand the complexity of God. How he can create immense capabilities for species in the small strands of DNA within us and how from one couple of human beings or animals, countless different kinds of traits can emerge. Think about when two hummingbirds mate, they do not just create one hummingbird; they can create up to three hundred different kinds over the centuries. It does not take an artist to appreciate the beauty that lies in all these creations, all you have to do is be looking for them.

Often I have seated myself in places where I can just watch people walk by. It is hard to explain my exact purpose except that I find it so surprisingly calming.

Many of those people are mixed race or of mixed ethnicities but the union of their parents has created something which can only be described as artistic. Some of them have dusky skin with bright ocean blue eyes and there is a certain synchronicity which you never imagined till you have actually seen it.

Nowadays sexual intimacy has been made into something which must be discouraged or despised when it is love in its most basic sense and an act which makes such indescribable beauty possible.

But it is true that it must arise from the right place within; from a place of true affection. Embrace this level of intimacy, all the while holding it in high esteem as something that you have been given but not something that belongs to you.

Children’s book and cookbook author Litsa Bolontzakis is an expert on Greek cooking and that culture’s easy, simple way of life. Her desire is to help other families learn from her culture how to appreciate the simple things in life and grow to enjoy the seasons and the gifts they bring.

Go Ahead, Call Me If You Dare

I don’t think it was in the mind of Dr. Bell when he invented the telephone for people like me to be harassed by people who are only after my money. Don’t get me wrong here. The telephone has been a great blessing to many people. But lately, the wrong people have my number.

It finally came to a head this past week. At least as far as I was concerned.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had a very busy week and by Thursday we had accomplished a lot, or at least we thought we had. We had lunch with a very good friend and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

On our way home from lunch I mentioned the fact to my wife that I was feeling very tired and I probably could do with a Power Nap, as they call them today. She just looked at me and said, “Go ahead and get your nap in.”

Being the husband that I am, I always obey my wife. And so, off to the parsonage I headed to get in a well-deserved, at least I thought it was, Power Nap to rejuvenate what little energy I had left.

Nothing feels better to me than stretching out on my easy chair, closing my eyes and drifting off into Lala land, of which I am a frequent visitor.

I am not quite sure how long I was sleeping, but suddenly I heard a weird noise that awakened me. That weird noise was the telephone ringing. I never know who’s calling and I never know if it might be important, so I answered the phone.

I am so tired of getting telephone calls that just interrupts my day. I get calls from somebody who has a solution for my student loan and how to pay it off. I never went to college and therefore I don’t have a student loan. At my age, if I had a student loan it would be a tragic situation.

The call was from some health agency that had a deep concern about my health. More particularly, they had solutions for pains that I was experiencing.

“I understand,” the person on the other end of the telephone said very businesslike, “that you are having problems with pain in your body.”

I do not know where he got that understanding or why he would be interested in any of my pain.

“No, sir,” I said with a healthy yawn, “there ain’t no pain here.”

“Is there someone in your house,” he went on to say, “that has some back pain?”

Without giving me time to respond, he continued, “I believe you qualify for one of our back braces to help manage your back pain.”

“No, sir,” I said most pathetically, “nobody here has that kind of pain.”

Not hindered in his salesman pitch, he said, “Is there someone in your home that has an ankle pain? I have a wonderful solution that I would like to send you to deal with that pain?”

I still was a little dizzy because of being awakened from my Power Nap that I was not quite able to comprehend what he was talking about. He just kept on talking.

Finally, he said, “What kind of pain does anybody in your household have that we could address today?”

Obviously, he had solutions for pain, but the problem was I did not have any pain for him to address.

I was about to hang up on him when a few gray cells woke up from their Power Nap and nudged me with a thought.

“Now that you mentioned it,” I said as seriously as possible, “there is a pain here that perhaps you could help me with.”

“Yes, sir,” he said most enthusiastically, “we want to help you with all the pain that you might have. How can we help you today? What is your pain?”

“Well, sir,” I said rather slowly, “I have this throbbing pain in my neck. How in the world can you help me with that?”

I noticed his pause at the other end of the telephone. Then I heard the question I was waiting for.

“Where did you get this pain in the neck? And how in the world can I help?”

Without any pause, I jumped in and said, “My pain in the neck is from people like you calling me and disturbing me in my nap. The only way you can help me is to quit calling me!”

[Click]

With that click, he cured my pain in the neck. If all pain could be solved that quickly this world would be a much better place I am sure.

A little while later my wife came into the parsonage, took one look at me and said, “Why do you look so happy? Did your nap work for you today?”

“No,” I said with a little giggle, “I just got rid of a pain in the neck.”

I could not help but think of one of my favorite Proverbs. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

With all the agitation in the world, a person is sometimes tempted to get all caught up with bitterness and anger. I have learned the hard way, that the best way to deal with agitation is to make fun of it so that somebody laughs, particularly me.