Being Still Can Be a Real Accomplishment

If you’re perusing my column today for some sort of deep spiritual lesson, I warn you up front that I’ll be surprised if you find much. Wisdom and I may not, I’m afraid, sit on the same couch as often as we should anyway, but today… 

For one thing, there’s not much room on the couch. It counts as a somewhat flat surface. If my main goal in life was (were if you prefer the subjunctive) to fill up flat surfaces with all manner of junk and debris, I could hardly be more successful. Worse than any woman’s purse, my computer backpack needs to be dumped out at least once every six months, so it can shed fifteen pounds and give up some secrets—items that I’d thought were long since lost.

Since I was sitting on the other end of the couch when I boiled over and spilled the bag, I am sitting beside an assortment of six different computer cables, twenty varied computer dongles, one portable charging battery, one old iTouch, two external hard drives, one digital audio interface, one or two cool small flashlights, one Olight flashlight flyer (one can never have too many cool flashlights), an iPad, an iPhone, a USB-C hub, an English-style flat cap, several little cloth carrying bags, some Velcro straps, and a caulking gun.

Full disclosure: Several of these items did not come from the computer bag; they just found their way to the couch and were tossed onto the debris pile. The caulking gun is on the couch because it showed up at my door a couple of days ago, as ordered.

This is, by the way, the best caulking gun I’ve personally ever owned or touched. A pox on the cheapies that invariably fail when you’re perched on the ladder or crawling under the house. This, finally, is the real deal that puts the others to shame. It’s a pleasure just to hold it and admire the craftsmanship. All-metal construction, baked on enamel paint, built like a tank but elogant and lithe. Smooth plunger technology with a 12:1 drive ratio (available also in 26:1, I suppose so you can use it for tubes of solid concrete). It costs more than the pathetic attempts at the throwaway caulking guns you’ll find at most hardware stores and is worth every penny. (Albion is the brand.) But enough of that. Down to the garage, ready and waiting for caulking perfection, it will soon go.

My retired municipal judge wife just came through and issued a decree. I paraphrase: “Don’t even think about moving your rear off that couch until you’ve cleaned up the other end of it.” I’m not sure how she expects me to do both of those things at the same time, but it doesn’t seem like I should ask.

This is a golden Saturday, a Saturday at home as the good Lord intended for Saturdays. I slept until almost 10:00. I managed to successfully put off doing several things I thought I should maybe try to accomplish (including writing this). Hey, occasionally finding a sweet Saturday to be still enough to accomplish almost nothing at all is a very worthwhile accomplishment, one that seems to be completely out of the reach of many people who accomplish very little by screwing up perfectly good Saturdays as they expend tremendous effort to accomplish never being at home on Saturdays attempting to accomplish finding some rest. The latter would be a worthwhile accomplishment.

I’m hoping that if I stay on the couch long enough, my wife will shift her focus elsewhere, and I can escape to the garage to accomplish some puttering, a worthy goal for a golden Saturday. Or maybe I can turn on a good quirky British detective TV series and distract her into binge-watching it with me.

It’s a golden Saturday, filled with potential lofty goals to be gratefully kicked aside and temporarily but gratefully forgotten so that when they’re picked up again, it’s with some perspective. For most of us, I’m afraid, even our Saturdays are a study in how we can work to make even what we call our “play” utterly exhausting. Our families pay a far heavier price for such than we usually realize or admit. If you’re the one in your family who (unwisely) thinks you can go and go and go and be just fine, at least be wise enough to know that not everyone in your family can. Race too long and a tire will blow. Full speed ahead, Type A types are often surprised by that. They shouldn’t be.

Unexpected but possibly pithy spiritual point: A big part of our God’s Sabbath commandment surely has to do with reminding us that healthy souls need some time to rest and just “be” as we let God spin the world for a while without our help. For sure, we can talk about Sundays and worship, etc. But isn’t it amazing how much trust in God and almost gut-wrenching discipline it takes for most of us just to find a golden Saturday—or any other day—to simply breathe and rest? Maybe it would show at least a little glimmer of wisdom if we were embarrassed to fall so often to the temptation to be so dumb.  

Copyright 2023 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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