A week ago we woke up to over a foot of silent, heavenly, childhood-resurrecting snow. I went out with a shovel and found that my neighbor George had unbarricaded me already. So I plucked my way to old Mrs. Carter's house and did her car and driveway. Meanwhile, Kathy B. was hacking a tunnel from Mrs. Gliba's steps to the road, and I saw Steven D. armed and looking for someone to rescue.
Economically speaking, it was a zero-sum game: Everybody's snow got shoveled by someone else, and it was no more or no less efficient than if they had shoveled it themselves. But life is more than the removal of precipitation, and the crisscrossing lines of neighbors "bearing one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2) augmented the value of the exercise.
It made me think that if God had wanted to create a more "efficient" world with more efficient people, He would have eliminated such time-wasters as sleep (one-third of the day), eating (three times a day), hygiene, sex, music, friendship, and childhood. Then we could have gotten a lot done.
The next question is, of course, what we are so bent on getting done? I thought about my own life. What is the point of everything I do? Am I forever doing the thing I'm doing so that later on I can get to the thing I really want to be doing? Dorothy Parker said, "I hate writing. I love having written." Is that how it is for me, too?
What is the definition of an "interruption"? According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, "Interrupt: To stop or hinder by breaking in." The implication is that the activity being "hindered" is more important than the demand that is interrupting it. We may have some things reversed. Our preacher last Sunday said his wife phoned him while he was preparing his sermon (on love), and rather than listen to her talk about her day, he orchestrated the conversation to find the nearest exit.
It's hard to say what I would have got done if the storm hadn't come. No one is allowed to know the might-have-beens. All that we have is the circle of light at our feet.
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