Oh, the Daze of My Life

When I was young, my mother was quite a fan of a soap opera called “The Days of Our Lives.” I remember the title but I never would watch something like that. However, my mother enjoyed it and so what’s there to complain about.

As I was thinking of it, I felt that I should remember the days of my life. But, instead of “days,” I need to put in the word “daze,” which more clearly represents my life.

At times, I wish I was 16 again because I was the smartest person in the world. I knew everything; all you had to do was just ask me. Of course, back then, nobody asked me anything.

When I got older, I realized that there were a lot of things I did not know. Like one of the FBI directors said, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” I relate to that statement. How my life would change if I knew what I didn’t know?

Looking back, I must confess that my life has been primarily in a daze. At the time, I did not realize it. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much of my life was in a daze.

As a veteran husband, I’ve come to know how much of a daze I have been living in. It does not bother me what I don’t know. It has never been an issue with me as far as I can remember. Then, of course, my memory is in a daze.

It occurred to me this past week. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage asked me a question when I came in the door from a day at the office.

“Have you seen how much my pineapple tree has grown?”

I did not know where to start with this one. I just muttered something like, “that’s really amazing, isn’t it.”

When I said that, she stared at me with one of “her stares.”

I’m quite familiar with that stare, and so I knew I was in trouble, but I did not know the trouble I was in or why.

I just flashed a smile in her direction and tried to walk past her, but nothing of the sort happened that way.

“You didn’t know,” she said with both hands on her hips, “that I planted a pineapple tree in our front yard. Did you?”

Well, she got me there. I could not tell a pineapple tree from a tomato plant when it comes right down to it. That’s how much of a daze I am in.

With that information, she took me outside to where the pineapple tree was and showed it to me.

“See,” she said, pointing at the pineapple tree, “there is the pineapple tree.”

Now my daze is getting cloudier.

I need to understand what to do when my wife catches me in such a dazed position. How in the world do I get out of such a predicament?

“That’s a pineapple tree,” I said with as much glee in my voice as possible. “That is an amazing tree. You’ve done a great job with that tree. You must be thrilled.”

I stopped to catch my breath because I didn’t know where to go from there. I had no idea what I was saying and no idea if she understood what I was saying.

I paused and glanced in her direction and got my answer.

She said, “That is my favorite plant that I’ve ever planted. It looks so wonderful. I can’t wait to see it grow even bigger.”

With that, she smiled one of those smiles that told me I was out of trouble, at least for this moment.

We then walked back into the house, and both of us were happy but for different reasons.

I’m not sure how long she had that pineapple tree planted in our front yard, and I was afraid to ask because it may have been weeks or months. I wasn’t going to spoil a moment by expressing the level of my dazement.

Later on, as I was drinking coffee in my chair, I got to thinking about something very serious. What other areas of my life are a daze?

I could ask my wife, but then I would learn more about my daze then I needed to know at the time. One daze at a time is enough for me to handle. I’m really not ready to find out how much I don’t know at this point in my life. It may be too overwhelming.

Or, I could start paying attention to my life each day. That is a challenging task, but maybe it is something I need to do. Every day I should ask my question, “What don’t I know today?”

Maybe I shouldn’t do it every day; maybe I should do it once a week. Or thinking more along that line, maybe I should do it once a month.

If I could learn once a month what I don’t know, I think my life would increase in a positive direction.

In my Bible reading for the evening, I read what David said. “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4).

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Coffee Without Coffee Just Ain’t

I must soberly confess that I have throughout my life given in to habits and rituals. I don’t like saying that, but it is the truth. At this point, I don’t know the difference between a habit and a ritual.

One ritual I have is when I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is have a nice hot cup of coffee. This is what really gets me going in the morning. You do not want to meet me before I have my morning cup of Joe.

There was a time I changed my habit and had hot tea in the morning. I thought that might be a different change in my life. Believe me when I say it was a change. You did not want to meet me after having my hot tea in the morning. In fact, I didn’t even recognize myself after that hot cup of tea.

Before we go to bed each evening, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage prepares the coffee pot to go off in the morning so it’s ready when I get up. I’m not sure how many years she has done that, but she did it today, and that’s all that counts.

There’s something about coffee that juices my energy each day. I don’t know what it is, but I’m okay with it as long as it does that.

When I was a youngster at home, I never liked coffee. I figured out later it was because my parents used instant coffee. When I got a hold of the real coffee, I never went back to that instant coffee nonsense.

The other morning something different happened.

I got up in the morning, as usual, I went to prepare my coffee. I’m not really that awake at this point in the day, but it’s a routine, and I just went through the routine of getting my coffee ready and then go to my chair and have my morning devotions.

Everything went well until the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into the room where I was, she stood there staring at me and finally said, “How’s your coffee this morning?”

I bounced a smile back to her and said very enthusiastic, “It’s the best coffee I’ve had all day.”

She smiled.

When she smiles at me, I know something is wrong. For the life of me, I could not figure out what was wrong so early in the morning. Here I was, I have my coffee, I’m reading my Bible and she comes with this kind of inquiry.

“So,” she said rather hesitatingly, “your coffee this morning is just like normal?”

I chuckled and said, “Just like my coffee every morning.”

“Maybe you should look at your coffee again,” she said.

As I looked at my coffee, it did look a little different. The coffee was whiter than usual, but that’s all I could see.

“Take a sip and tell me what you think.”

I took a sip, it was hot and I didn’t notice any difference.

Perhaps this is my problem throughout life. When I’m in the habit of some sort and going to a ritual, I don’t notice what’s going on. Isn’t that what a habit is supposed to do?

“For your information,” my wife said somewhat sarcastically, “I forgot to put the coffee grounds in the coffee pot last night. All you have from the coffee pot is hot water.”

I laughed a hearty laugh. I looked at her, thinking, of course, she was trying to trick me into something. Then she brought the coffee pot in and showed me. Sure enough, the water in the coffee pot was water and not coffee.

I did not know what was going on. I just stared at her in a spirit of unbelief. I couldn’t understand what I did wrong.

She looked at me, and her smile faded, and then confessed. “I forgot to put the coffee grounds in the coffee pot. That’s why the water is clear. It was my mistake.”

For the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage to confess to some wrongdoing is a moment in marital history.

I stared at her for a few moments, not knowing what to think, and then I broke down in hilarious laughter. “So, I’m not drinking coffee this morning.”

Together we laughed for a few moments, then she went back into the kitchen and made the coffee all over again, and this time she did not forget to put the coffee grounds in the coffee pot.

As I was drinking the real coffee, I pondered the issue a little bit. How many times I am doing that sort of thing in my daily life? Maybe I’m going through certain rituals and habits and not realizing that I’m not really doing it what I think I’m doing.

Just like I thought I was drinking coffee, maybe there are times I think I’m doing what God wants me to do, and perhaps I’m not, just going through the motions.

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