My sisters and I have reflected a lot on my father in particular. He passed away in January of 2001, almost fifteen years ago now. And this time of year in particular, we are in agreement that we find ourselves thinking a lot about him.
I remember his mannerisms, his ways of doing things, so many of the little details of which were impressed upon me at such a young age. One thing I especially remember is that he always believed in planning ahead.
For this reason, he would do as much as he could the night before each day so that there would less to do the following morning. He would shave and shower, and then lay out his clothes for the following day. He would also gather the accoutrements he knew he would need for the coming day’s activities.
He would also extrapolate this out to larger frames of time. For instance, he would always plan to get home a day or two early from any vacation he might take. His reasoning was that this would allow him the time he would invariably need to put his life back in order before he went back to work.
Clothes would need to be washed. Cabinets would need to be restocked with food. Grass would need to be cut, etc… He did not want to rush in from vacation and go straight back to work with all of this still left undone.
These days, in all these things and more, I find myself emulating him. And the past couple of days have been no different. My wife and I enjoyed our recent trip out of state to see our family. But we made certain to come home a day or two before returning to work in order that we would have time to put our world back in order.
More than this, we have really tried to utilize the entire last two weeks of our Christmas vacation as sort of an extended “night before”. Recognizing that 2016 looms ever closer, we have tried to ask ourselves what all we could do during this slight lull before the fullness and fury of the new year unfolds.
Along the way, we have undertaken every step we could conceive of in order to take pressure off of ourselves once we return to the workaday schedule, from automotive oil changes to cleaning out our gutters to filing our 2015 financial receipts to refilling all of our soap dispensers.
True, all of these things and a great many more that we have tended to could have all been handled in the coming days and weeks. But taking the time and expending the energy now while both are readily available will surely make life less stressful and us more productive as we tend to our professional responsibilities.
Of course, I owe most of this to my father. He implanted the concept in my mind. I do not necessarily know where he learned these things - perhaps from his own parents. But my suspicion is that, somewhere along the way, at least, he must have encountered certain admonitions of God’s Word that underscored the wisdom of his practices.
Among them would surely have been these pearls from the Book of Proverbs…
“The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” (Proverbs 21:25 ESV)
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (Proverbs 13:4 ESV)
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” (Proverbs 10:4-5 ESV)
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6-11 ESV)
Wise old King Solomon obviously understood the importance of getting ready. So did my father. I’m glad they were both led to share this wisdom with me.