Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Organizing My Life & Time:

Over the weekend Ginny voiced a serious accusation against me.

No, not that one.

Something else entirely.

On Friday, our daughter, who had been sleeping on our sofa for the week while apartment hunting, moved in with her sister for a while. So, on Sunday afternoon, Ginny and I held an intense and uninterrupted conversation for close to six hours.

Mostly we talked about the direction our life has moved in recently and where, God willing, we’d like it to go in the next five years — assuming God gives us life and strength that long.

Or, our winning Lotto, whichever comes first.

After talking long and hard about these things, we decided to organize and write down a specific but tentative plan to reach various specific goals.

We believe Christians should plan, but hold those plans loosely.

Future plans are always written on air.

Funny how two different people approach reaching the same goal.

Women are strange.

I organized my list according to the tools needed to get the job done. Thus, since we want to paint the house, I wrote that project up in terms of replacing some boards on the deck, pressure washing, etc. My first step would be to buy a Skill Saw.

My list did not satisfy Ginny.

She conjured up a computer thing called an Excel Spread Sheet and entered the same goals I had, but organized according to each room in the house. In her system, we’d begin by replacing the squeaky ceiling fan in our bedroom, work down to buying a blue bedspread, then removing the boxes of books under the bed, and finally replacing the carpet. —— Then she repeated such a process with each room in the house.

For each area she set up spreadsheet columns for estimated costs, needed materials, and timetable.

Amazing, how her mind works.

I plan from the outside in; she plans from the inside out.

But so much of accomplishing a goal from either prospect hinges on two things, time and attention.

That’s where her damning accusation came in.

“Love,” she said, “You let other people dictate the course of our life”.

She said I react to the needs and problems of other people as soon as I see them. It’s a knee jerk thing with me.

For instance, when Felony, the bull dog belonging to a neighbor, faced being delivered up to the dog catcher. I devoted enormous time and energy, worry and aggravation, to save a dog that does not belong to me. For a week, caring for that dog controlled my life.

(Incidentally, Felony died this week end in spite of all our efforts to save her; You can read about it on my daughter-in-law’s blog at http://www.elemental.name/pai/ ).

Now, Ginny is the most charitable woman I’ve ever known. She’s accomplished amazing feats of giving and caring for others.

Both Ginny and I take seriously that Bible verse that says, “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”.

But entirely aside from that, I like to feel useful. When I see someone dealing with a problem, my Boy Scout training kicks in, I want to jump in and help. To do the job right. To take charge. Be the rescuer, the super hero.

All well and good… but I do this to the neglect of my own soul, my own wife, my own family, my own house. My own business.

“Love,” Ginny said, “You let other people dictate the course of our life. You need to learn to mind your own business”.

She wants me to concentrate more on my personal duties rather than be distracted by other people’s problems.

Following her advice is so hard for me.

Why is it that I can see how to solve other people’s problems so much easier than my own?

Your life is so much easier for me to run than my own.

The Scripture says that we are to help others, even our enemy, get his ox out of a ditch; at the same time God warns us about being a busybody in other men’s affairs.

I err on the busybody side of that spreadsheet.

Most of us seldom have to chose between good and evil; our most common choice lies between the good and the Best.

It's a Mary and Martha thing.

I often avoid the Best by merely settling for the manageable good.

And, as the Scripture says, even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Yesterday, Bubba, an elderly neighbor, came by my house to talk. Some drunk relative of his had thrown a brick through his window and he needed some glass replaced.

I can do that!


No, I can’t.

I have specific duties of my own that demand to be priorities for my day; I would have to neglect these in order to go down and fix Bubba’s window.

Instead of doing the job myself, I helped him call a glazier (he can’t see well enough to read a phone book or dial). It will cost him money he can ill afford…

I try to tell myself that his window is not my problem.

But, today, I feel guilty as hell.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:36 AM


At 9:50 AM, Blogger Margie said...

I sometimes chose helping others to avoid cleaning up the messes I make. For me, it's easier to give others advice than to take my own.

great post!

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Morning Glory said...

Such true words. Why IS it easier to solve the problems for others?? I wonder if it's because it allows me to procrastinate in dealing with my own issues.

Good stuff....

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Seeker said...

You DO have it right... people are important and it's important to help, as we are able.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Amrita said...

People like us suffer from a "messiah" complex. But yes, ometimes its easier to solve other people 's problem than our own.

So sorry about Felony. Why are our pets dying, my Spitz, Jimmy died a week back and so did my nephew 's pirana, Milton.


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