October 2, 2008

Convenience And His Cousin

Convenience. That's what life is all about, really. Am I right or what? I mean, seriously, we live & breathe & function to constantly find a better way to make everything in our life this well-oiled machine of squeaky clean convenience. "Yes, I need my oil changed. And while I wait I'm going to get a manicure, have some lunch, and go buy a new garden hose and some cat food." Praise you O deity of convenience, who makes our lives so sweet!

OK, so maybe you don't need a new garden hose and if you're like me, you definitely don't have any need for cat food, but if you have any objectivity and any guts you have to admit...this is US! And it's not that there's something inherently wrong with convenience - we're just trying to be efficient stewards of our time, right? No, the problem exists when we allow our quest and obsession with our own convenience to blind us with ignorance to the rest of the world. For instance, is it ever convenient to pull over and help that person you've never met change the flat on their Toyota? No. Is it ever convenient to take 1/2 the day off and help a friend re-route the flood water out of their backyard? I don't think so. Or how about spending an hour listening to someone who just needs a compassionate ear - where does that rank on the Convenience Scale? How about a 1 out of 10!

The Book of Ecclesiastes is possibly the most erratic and bizarre book in the Bible. It could actually be used to make a case that Solomon took hallucinogens. But in all seriousness, it is packed full of these very sporadic but truthful and insightful messages that are still painfully relevant even today. In Ecclesiastes 8:5-6, Solomon says, "Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right. Yes, there is a time and a way for everything, even as people's troubles lie heavily upon them." Excuse me while I catch my breath from being slugged in the gut and called a slacker! Do these sound like words of convenience? Does this sound like a message that is ringing very loudly or clearly in our Walmart World of Wonder? I read this and think, "When was the last time I got out of my own way, saw a need in someone's life, forgot about whether or not my Levi's got dirty, and stepped up to the plate?" And let's add some insult to injury by erasing and invalidating all my excuses like, "Oh, I'm sick" or "I had an appointment to get to" or even "That just wouldn't have been safe!" That's my favorite.

Our lives can become a string of days and events and decisions that, all linked together, might be called a journey. How bad would it sting to reach the end of the journey and realize that your destination was convenience? Break out the champagne! Have a cigar! We've done it! We've reached the ultimate destination! We're there man!

I don't think so.

I think our new best friend's name would be Regret. Yes, Convenience is the road to Regret.

And up to this point in my life, Regret and I have not been the best of pals. In fact, I pretty much hate his guts! He laughs at me and calls me names and points out all my fears and flaws. Jerk! Why in the world would I want to be friends with him?

Yes, the secret's out. Convenience and Regret are related. Their cousins; sort of like Bo & Luke Duke. (Sorry, couldn't resist!) And if you're like me, you don't want them in your day, in your home, or anything to do with them. So how do we avoid them? Solomon says we're to "...find a time and a way to do what is right." There you have it. 

And make sure you just go ahead and realize that while the remote and the snooze button will not be happy with this decision, there not the ones who have to live with the Regret.

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