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Slothful Intentions




I sat for hours today reading an apocalyptic, sci-fi thriller. The book is my kind of beach reading, or as some of my teacher friends call such a novel, a bubble gum book. No matter, I’m halfway through and counting down the time until I can return to it.

Only a special kind of slob sits for 6+ hours to read a book. I dotted that time with making meals and doing laundry. I’m not sure if that counts as something useful as I was really stretching my legs, so I could get the blood going and thereby read more.

The day before held a similar pattern, but the day before that I actually followed a schedule. I segmented my day based on my goals, everything from house cleaning to an activity with my boys to writing. I used ideas from authors who write about not procrastinating, so you can write your next novel, blog, etc. That day was productive if I judge by what I accomplished—clothes hung, a blog posted, the start of a model gunship, etc. It would seem the experiment produced only short term fruit, as the following days were less than stellar in terms of accomplishments. For example, we ate pizza tonight. Oops.

I come from a long line of slackers or maybe we’re just procrastinators. Can you call it procrastination if you never actually do the thing you procrastinated on? I think that’s when we get into the sloth territory. My father has been a devoted provider for our family; on the other hand, during his days off he can work at not doing something better than most. I’m pretty sure he learned it from his father. And me, I have done our lineage proud. I still marvel that I have taught for 12 years, kept a semi-clean house, and managed to regularly feed two boys. I count it as God’s mercy and simple inertia. In all other aspects, I am the definition of much potential and very little to show for it.  I sit and I think and sometimes I write and I watch KDramas and I read. If reading counts as productivity, I’m an Olympian.

I hear Christians talk about Proverbs 31, and they focus on the “favor is deceitful and beauty is vain” part. Oh, isn’t that beautiful and so churchy sounding? Meanwhile, I still can’t get over the other bits: rising before dawn, buying a field, making tapestries, selling linen, providing food, and not being afraid of the snow, um, yeah, well there’s that. The true killer is she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” Uh-oh, I live off that bread. Here is a woman who makes this summer’s Wonder Woman seem like an overly dramatic girl who thinks she’s a true feminist but really she just runs around puffed up with her idealism, thinking she's accomplishing something when in fact she ends up beating up the bad guy like every other comic book hero in a movie—not that I have a negative opinion on the lovefest for this movie—I digress.

Back to my wayward dawdling. I try to justify my sloth with thoughts of Mary and Martha; after all, I surely know the one needful thing, and that do-gooder Martha didn't get it. I must be on the side of Mary and her singular focus. Really? Reading a novel on the spread of a pandemic virus is the one needful thing? Turns out idleness is seldom directed at Godly devotion.

What is one to do as a sloth masquerading as a perfectionist procrastinator? Or, is it the other way around? I have no idea which I really I am or what to do about it. At least the problem is identified. I’ll come up with a solution tomorrow.

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