It appears the calendar has turned over again. Some folks have complex ones divided into fifteen minute compartments where they can pigeonhole all kinds of stressful things. A few years back, I found one set up by the hour worked fine. More and more, just naming the day is sufficient, and occasionally I’m satisfied to just know which month we are currently spending. I’ve also found no habit or practice that will slow it down except a strong desire to be finished with something. For example, a sermon cannot be hurried enough to make it pleasurable. But a few things can cause the time to move quickly. It has been said that having fun will do it. And it will, but also pay attention to circumstances surrounding some dismal or unpleasant tasks: If the deadline for its completion is unreasonable, the dismalness may linger, but the amount of time assigned to it will have become a contraction.
Before cellular telephones became available to the general public, there was a brief time of the “beeper”, which some called a “pager.” But whenever those confounded things went off, I noticed the person saddled with its safe-keeping often seemed unable to turn the page fast enough. In the early days, the only persons in polite society to have them were doctors. In time, prostitutes and members of the legislature carried them, and for the same reason. But in the beginning, only the doctor was allowed to be excused, and could get up quickly to leave the opera or a revival meeting with complete immunity from prosecution. And whenever such an event occurred, the doctor would be the envy of all others present. It was during this brief period in history that medical school enrollments rose sharply, though graduations didn’t keep pace.
One of the advantages we can have as 2014 begins, is having seen what happened during 2013 take place. Without that information available, though we were to know everything up to and including the year before it, we would be left short, and certain to have our decision making suffer. But only a few will take advantage of knowing what all has happened in the recent past unless there is a splinter in a finger because of it. And since that is so, some will still be likely to grab the rough and unfinished lumber without gloves, and will not see any need of gloves until some new splinter presents itself. Splinters have to be personal. If another person has a splinter that is not inconveniencing us, we probably won’t notice it unless they complain.
I suppose some will be made aware of splinters in the hands of others, and conclude it is none of their concern. Some may take note and feel sorry for the person who suffers. A few might stop what they are doing otherwise, and help remove the splinter. Some might be thinking of the splinter metaphorically. If you would otherwise become the splinter, there might be justification for such reflection. But not me. I have resolved to not be a splinter this year, because they seldom show up unless some work is being done. No, by habit and education, I will continue to be either a thorn in the side, or the burr under a saddle. I am versatile that way.
At other times, I’ll make no effort to generate painfulness at all, and will look around to see if some pain can be avoided, especially if I am the person to benefit from such an avoidance. But for others I see coming, if I notice a bridge is out, I’ll take pleasure in letting them know. But looking back on the history of 2013 and many of its predecessors, offering such notification is often likely to be received the same as is the thorn, the burr, and even the splinter. Happy New Year.