I remember as a kid trying to snag the Reader’s Digest first when it arrived in the mail so I could be the first in the family to read the Life in These United States, Humor in Uniform, and other funny items. It was great fun to read the best ones aloud to other family members or hear someone chuckle when they read the same ones that made me laugh.
One I still remember – a whimsical telling of a life-lesson.
A bride and groom had rented a lakeside cottage for their honeymoon vacation but weather ruined many of their plans. Rainy day after rainy day got to them before long and dampened their spirits. (sorry – some puns just can’t be helped) Yet at the cottage next door, an old chap sat on the porch and whistled, whittled or read a book while the rain steadily fell. Intrigued and a little perplexed the young groom finally called across to him: Doesn’t all this rain BOTHER you? I mean, really!
“Son,” the ol’ chap responded with a warm smile and understanding nod, “I learned a long time ago that when it decides to rain – the best thing I can do is let it.”
Why I remember that one I don’t really know. Maybe it’s the life-lesson it taught with a smile. If a thing is outside my control, the best thing I can do is let it.
- The rain. Or this month in Wisconsin, the snow. Cold. Wind.
- Decisions others make which are outside my influence.
- The path (or speed) the driver in front of me chooses.
- When HR in the company I’ve applied to decides to pursue other candidates instead of me.
There are things I can control, and I need to do those things as a good steward (Luke 16.10-11), faithful and trustworthy. Diligent, you might could say. But when it’s beyond my grasp, I’m healthiest when I smile and say “you may”.
I can’t control how cold it gets, how hard the wind blows, or how long the furnace runs because of it all – best thing to do is let it.
Maybe life needs a sign like this one that used to mysteriously appear in mainfraim computer rooms in the 1960’s:
Alle touristen und non-technischen lookenpeepers! Das machine is nicht fur fingerpoken und mittengrabben. Is easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzen sparken. Das machine is diggen by experten only. Is nicht fur gerwerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen das cottenpicken hands in das pockets. Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights.”
God knows what He’s doing. Sometimes the best thing I can do is keep my hands in my pockets, watch, and let life happen.