In those sincere brown eyes looking directly into mine from 30 feet away, I could see the stubbornness, the resistance, the implied statement that “I love you Daddy but I’m not coming.” I suppose there’s nothing more stubborn than a Corgi, a sweet little dog whose main purpose in life seems to be to stubbornly refuse to do anything she is asked to do! It was time for me to call on my most very effective expression: Lucy, Come here… RIGHT… THIS… MINUTE!
And… slowly, I could see her eyes drop down, the resistance fading as she started taking the first steps to come into the house, those serious brown eyes staring up at me seeming to say, “Daddy is serious this time. Better do what he says”. *1
Many of us have felt that drag, the resistance to doing what needs to be done, to procrastinate or move along sluggishly hoping the need for action will somehow pass us by, or maybe convincing ourselves that sometime in the future will be better. But in my experience those “take action” times seem to keep drifting just out of our reach, into the next moment, the next day, week or year, and we are only fooling ourselves by thinking that in the future we will somehow feel better, have more money, more time, more patience, be more mature, more ready, more, more, more. But always at a later time.
It is one thing when it involves just putting off painting the front porch,changing a light bulb or washing the car. Much more serious is postponing important things like considering our life purpose, where we are going spiritually, what are our life goals, or seriously addressing situations where our life and happiness or the happiness and well being of another are concerned.
Ironically, it often seems much easier to accept the dismal prospect of being sick or sinful, even being dissatisfied with ourselves, or delaying loving acts of kindness and consideration for others, resisting or delaying forgiveness, promising ourselves that in some future time we will do the right thing, maybe later we will apologize for some hurt or offense, be more helpful to others. We convince ourselves that we will pray at some time in the future for better understanding of God’s love and its influence in our life. I have too often followed the reasoning of Felix, as described in the book of Acts in the Bible. When the Apostle Paul came to him to discuss the teachings of Jesus, “Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. *2
I am fascinated by the lessons taught by Christ Jesus, who knew that we don’t have to wait to see God’s promise, to begin to see through earth’s sometimes dreary outlook and to grasp the perfect spiritual state which is ours to claim at this very moment. He encountered many “postponers” as he made his way through the countryside teaching his followers about Life and Love, how to understand God and how to live a pure life. And he roused them to action!!!
In one memorable scene Jesus came upon a man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years and couldn’t walk. As The Bible has it: “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” *3
It seems that the belief was that an Angel would come periodically and “trouble the water” and whoever first entered the water would be healed. Now this man had waited thirty eight years for a material solution, someone to help him get into the water, but Jesus said it was time to get up and move. Jesus saw through the claim of material disability and recognized the man’s spiritual identity as a child of God, not needing a material remedy but a better understanding of his spiritual perfection… and right that minute. He told the man to get up and take up his bed and go home. No waiting. No recuperation period. Jesus didn’t even touch him, he just uplifted the man’s thought by seeing him as a wholly complete and healthy idea of God.
A friend told me last month that she had been plagued with problems in the past several years and she said she decided to refuse to “drag across the timeline of the New Year the baggage of problems that she had been carrying.” WOW!!! I decided that I, too, can refuse to carry over problems from the past and to start now, immediately, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, to accept gratefully my true inheritance as an innocent child of God. It is high time to stop being burdened by worry, all of the concerns that seem to flow around us every day, and to begin loving more, caring more for others, concentrating on expressing my spiritual qualities instead of being lulled by the temptation to “do it later”, waiting on the “waters to move”.
Those experiences with Lucy have left me with a better understanding of Right This Minute and I begin to understand John’s assertion that “NOW are we the sons of God.” *4
And, Right This Minute I am telling apathy and resistance to get lost. I have things to do!! And so I leave you with the words of one of my favorite hymns:
Make haste, O man, to do
Whatever must be done;
Thou hast no time to lose in sloth,
When all to Truth must come.
The useful and the great,
The thing that never dies,
The silent toil that is not lost,—
Set these before thine eyes.
Fling ease and self away;
This is no time for thee to sleep;
Up, watch, and work, and pray. *5
Thanks Lucy, my little angel.
*2 Acts 2:24
*3 John 5
*4 I John 3:2
*5 Christian Science Hymnal 183