13 Nov 2010
My father used to tell me anything worth doing was worth doing right the first time. If you have time to do it the second time, you have time to do it right the first time.
As fathers go, he was right. It seems most people have not learned this lesson, least of all politicians who are supposedly serving the interests of their constituency. I know there are good politicians in America today. Nobody seems to know who they are, though.
The reason I have been thinking about this is I'm sitting here indulging in the delicate aroma floating in from the kitchen where the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has begun her ritual of roasting the Thanksgiving turkey. I say turkey but really, she is roasting three turkeys. One is for our family Thanksgiving dinner and the other two are for the church Thanksgiving dinner.
Somewhere along the line, probably years before she met me, she learned the magnificent secret of doing things right the first time. Not like some people we hear of these days who don't have time to do it right the first time but seem to have plenty of time to do it over and over again, sometimes four times.
Anything worth doing right the first time demands planning. If anyone knows planning, it certainly is my wife. If things were left up to me, nothing would ever get done. I plan to learn how to plan someday but my plans seem to have fallen apart.
At our home, it begins about the middle of October when my wife says rather pensively, "Let's see. Thanksgiving is about five weeks away. Should we have a turkey this year?"
I can never tell if this is a real question, a rhetorical question or if she is trying to set me up for something. Believe me; I've been set up so many times I have a hard time lying down. For the first hundred years of our marriage I always said, turkey. After all, what else do you have at Thanksgiving time?
However, this year was a little different. When I responded with my usual answer she said, "But we've had turkey for years. Aren't you getting tired of turkey?"
If there's one thing I don't ever get tired of it's turkey. You can do so many things with turkey. There is roast turkey, sliced turkey sandwiches, turkey salad and turkey soup just to name a few.
The only problem at our house is, the turkey rarely survives the first day, which is a tribute, not so much to our consumption as a family as to the genius of the family chef. I have often wondered what turkey soup really tastes like.
This expertise in the direction of the Thanksgiving roast turkey did not come without cost. It took years for my wife to master the art of roasting a turkey. Unfortunately, much of this practice was on Yours Truly. She has been roasting me for years and still complains that I'm not quite done yet. That really burns me up.
Only last week she complained I was a little hard on the outside and rather soft on the inside. I was tempted to shift the blame on her but when it comes to this area; I am more of a lame duck then a finely roasted turkey. My philosophy is along these lines, I'd rather let things happen and then try to adjust to the consequences.
My good wife is of the opinion that you create your own consequences. Moreover, when she says this she is usually looking at me a little askew.
"Don't you know that the Thanksgiving Turkey does not roast itself?"
Being the lame duck I am, that thought never played with my mind. I have always enjoyed the results of the roasted turkey without a thought about how it got to my table.
While I was enjoying the aroma of the turkey roasting in the kitchen, I came up with several suggestions along these lines.
First, I need to find things that are worth doing in the first place. How much time I have wasted on things not really worth my time or effort is beyond my computation. Like my wife, I need to be a little more picky about the things I choose to do. Not everything is worth my time.
Second, those things worth doing certainly deserve my best efforts. If I have to redo something, it means I'm not putting my best effort into the project. And at my age, I don't have time to waste on things that are not worth my best effort.
Third, there is no finer satisfaction than a job well done.
I never understood this until recently. In the middle of our Thanksgiving dinner when everybody is enjoying the food and complementing the chef, my wife is sitting in her chair smiling. I never knew why until now.
This must be how our heavenly Father felt with Jesus at his baptism. "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22 KJV).
The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to recognize the wonderful work God has done for our salvation, which did not come without the ultimate cost, the sacrifice of His Son. This was done once and for all.
Rev. James L. Snyder