4 Aug 2008
According to my calculations, summer is half over. I am not quite sure how this came about but the calendar has never lied to me before. It has confused me and taunted me but it has never lied to me.
Looking at my calendar I can see no lazy days of summer noted anywhere in the foreseeable future. I am not sure if this is an oversight on my part and that I should have at least penciled in one lazy day of summer or if those lazy days of summer are a thing of the past. I sure hope it's not the latter.
I can hardly imagine a world without any lazy days of summer. It just would not be summer in my opinion.
This probably is the price people pay for getting old. When I was young most of my summer was filled with lazy days where I practiced the fine art of doing nothing. Oh how I yearn for the return of those good old days of yesteryear.
Someone once told me, "Sonny, don’t ever grow old." At the time, I did not know what he meant. I assumed he was referring to his loss of hair or arthritis in his joints or forgetting things. I thought that was what it meant to grow old. He meant nothing of the sort.
Now that I am old, I understand exactly what he was warning. There is no doubt in my mind; he was bemoaning the fact that his lazy days were gone. Perhaps, he was envious of the fact that at the time I had loads and loads of lazy days on my hands. I did not know just how rich I was.
Now I do, but it’s too late. Where have all those lazy days gone?
I was whining about this to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage hoping to get some empathy at least. And usually it is the least thing I get from her. Instead of sympathizing with me, all she did was look at me and say in that tone of voice that I know so well, "You just want an excuse to do nothing."
To which I replied most sharply, "I don't need an excuse to do nothing, all I need is an opportunity."
Thinking about what I said I discovered there was more wisdom in that one sentence than anything else I have ever said. I had to sit in the corner for a few moments recovering from the shock of saying something with wisdom in it. I probably say many things with wisdom in it without even thinking. In fact, I am good at saying many things without thinking.
Although I may not be good at a wide variety of things, I have mastered the art of doing nothing. I can do nothing better than I can do anything. Of course, I do not have too many opportunities to do anything; I have more opportunities to do nothing. If I had my choice, I would rather do nothing than anything.
My philosophy is simply this, why be good at nothing and not put it to good use?
I have invested a lot of time and energy into doing nothing and I am concerned that not having an opportunity to do nothing I might forget the finesse associated with that art.
I do not get a chance very often to do nothing so I am anxious to practice the skills associated with nothing. And in this regard, my calendar has not been very cooperative. Where are those lazy days of summer where I can do nothing?
Not only has my calendar not been cooperative but also my wife has been the epitome of obstruction in this pursuit of mine. Just when I think a lazy day is looming on the horizon she comes up with something for me to do. Even though all I wanted to do was nothing, she insists that I do her something. Either I do her something or else. I do not want to do her or else for nothing.
Those lazy days of summer were the perfect opportunity to perfect the fine art of doing nothing. Regretfully I have to honestly face the fact that those times are far behind me. No more lazy days of summer for me. At least not as many as there used to be.
The old preacher in Ecclesiastes was right when he said, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).
I can look back with a sense of satisfaction and know that when I did have those lazy days of summer I put them to good use and developed skill in doing nothing. I know before me are some days when I will not have the strength or energy to do anything, then my ability to do nothing will come in good use.
I think it is quite important to live in the time at hand. The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." (Romans 13:11 KJV).
Now that I am older, (and who's to say how much older I will get) I can say with a good deal of expertise, never grow old. By that I mean, never forget those lazy days of summer.
Rev. James L. Snyder