“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
If you’re reading this, there’s nothing else you could be doing. This is good news, because it means you can abolish all fears that you’re wasting time right now. Understand, you can tell yourself there is something else you could be doing, but be assured––this thought of what could be is nothing but a story, and as with most stories, you can consider it as you like.
I’ve been thinking lately about the way we talk about the weather. If I’m wondering about the weather forecast, I’m inclined to say something like “What’s the weather supposed to be like Friday?” Have you ever thought how ridiculous that question is? What’s the weather supposed to be like? I’ll tell you: the weather will be exactly as it’s supposed to be, no exceptions. Will the forecast match what the weather actually does? Maybe, sometimes.
I’ll be headed to Cannon Beach with my family later this week. The weather is supposed to be…well, we’ll find out, won’t we? I could tell myself a story about the weather in Cannon Beach; I could do that right now––conjure a tale of woe, a tale in which we drive three hours, burn a bunch of money, only to spend four days cooped up, watching cold oceanic rain pelt our hotel room windows. Oh, what a tragedy! What a waste!
The circumstance I describe above might happen. Whether or not I consider it a waste is up to me. Thankfully, I’ve come to change my way of thinking about these things. Consider the story of Jesus changing water to wine. When he chose to provide fine wine to a room full of people so drunk, they couldn’t distinguish premium wine from donkey piss, his actions were described by the party host as wasteful. There’s no recorded response from Jesus, but I like to think he might have said something like, “Waste? There is no such thing.”
It’s Father’s Day, and I can’t help thinking of my dad, gone twenty years now. Dad really would have loved my two boys. It’s easy to look at his premature death, the fact he’s not here to see his grandkids grow up, as a waste. I can imagine all the kids’ swim meets and band concerts my dad would have attended, all the stupid jokes he would have told them over and over, all the extra dimensions he could have added to our lives if he were here, but that’s not my dad’s story, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t here in some way.
I took my oldest son shopping recently for his first car. My father’s ghost came with us. I remember keenly the day my dad took me to buy my first car from a dealership. I fell in love with a little black turbo-charged hatchback there. Dad liked the car well enough, but he knew the price was too high. He made an offer that was barely over half the sticker price, and when the salesman scoffed, he just walked away. I was dumbfounded and a little upset. I felt like he’d insulted the guy. But just as we were about to leave, the manager ran and caught us and asked, “If I do that price, you’ll take it today?”
My son watched his reincarnated grandfather come through me when during the buying of his car, I shot down the finance guy’s offer to rip us off on an overpriced extended warranty. My dad’s life was not wasted, not even a little.
I’m going to go make coffee now. I made some earlier this morning, but I brewed it too weak. I consider it unworthy of a Father’s Day brew. As I pour that unworthy coffee down the drain, I’ll be tempted to think, What a waste, but even that is just a story, isn’t it?