Tom gave me a gift awhile back. He made it with nothing but a scrap of paper, scissors, and a colored pen. It was round…sort of (he cut it out freehand). And flat…sort of (cutting it out freehand crinkled the edges). And it was appropriate…absolutely. Tom had heard me remark, several times that day, “…when I get around to it.” Hence his gift: a round tuit.
The round tuit sits in a place of honor on my bookcase and I walk by it every day. You would think its tongue-in-cheek message would rub off on me. But no, I still can be heard saying, “I’ll do that later,” or “I’ll start on Monday,” or, “…when I get around to it.”
This habit of procrastination came home to me last week when I took a stab at cleaning off my desk. Now, my office desk is not anywhere as messy as Tom’s; but it had come to the point where there was no place to put notes when I was typing. That’s the reason…
Well, actually, I was procrastinating — dealing with the last throes of that “writer’s block” I wrote about last week. Cleaning off my desk sounded like a great idea. (Anything to put off writing!)
That’s when I noticed a purple-ribboned basket filled with greeting cards and little purple notes addressed to Tom and me. (Those of you who attended the celebration of our 50th Anniversary celebration last November might be able to guess what was in that little basket!)
On the day after that purple-full evening, when it was all over but the purple hair dye, I remember placing that basket on my desk, with this well-intentioned thought: “I’ll just set these here ‘til Tom and I have a peaceful, private moment to read through all the lovely notes and cards.”
That was eight months ago. I could excuse myself and say that, yes, we have had lots of peaceful moments – in doctor’s waiting rooms! But to be completely honest, we’ve had plenty of “peaceful, private moments” to go through that basket. We just never got a round tuit.
To a great part, that’s the story of my life! I am a lifelong procrastinator – this has NOTHING to do with age related forgetfulness! I’ve had so many plans, so many godly ambitions and dreams throughout my life; but 99% of them got derailed by a round tuit.
Ben Franklin got a LOT done in his life! But I wonder if he had to battle his own round tuits, since he had a lot to say about “not putting off today what you can do tomorrow.” Here is one of my favorite B.F. quotes: “You may delay, but time will not. And lost time is never found again.”
That reminds me of another quote, this time from Charles Dickens: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” And here is an old Scottish saying: “What will be done at any time will be done at no time.” And here’s one for my Protestant friends: “How soon not now becomes never.” (Martin Luther).
Isn’t it interesting how many quotes about procrastination I can come up with? I love collecting wise quotations – my files are full of them, waiting for a time when I will get a round tuit and write an article, story, or blog. “Researching” is often a handy procrastination tool for those of us who battle “writer’s block.”
I am learning SO much as I journey with cancer! But the most important thing is that time IS life. When I waste time, I waste life! Yes, I did get great news at the last doctor’s appointment (see my last blog); but the truth is, we do NOT know the “day or the hour.” Any of us. The doctor said I could live another 10+ years. But the truth is I could die tomorrow. Or today. That’s something for all of us procrastinators (and I know you are out there) to take to heart.
So, back to the basket. Going through the cards and notes, one by one, made me blush. I felt shame that it has been eight months since our Anniversary celebration! One of the cards contained a gift certificate – and I had never said thank you! (I wrote that thank you note yesterday! Bless you, Karen and Steve!)
But much more than shame, I felt a shower of love from our family and friends. A precious note from Rebecca (my daughter), written on her wedding stationary – from twenty years ago! A sweet note from my god-daughter, Maria. Another from my dearest friend, Julie.
But the biggest surprise – one that brought me to tears – was the note from my son-in-law, scribbled on one of the purple note cards we provided for our guests. I’ve shared some of John’s writing with you before, so you know he is a great writer. I called him last night, first to thank him, belatedly, for his beautiful tribute, but also to ask his permission to share what he wrote with you. He didn’t remember what he wrote, but trust me: I always will! Here is a portion of John’s note, leaving out some of the more personal comments:
“Love never fails.” Before Christina and I got married, if I’d been asked to describe love in a metaphor, I’d have said it’s like fire. Intense, unquenchable, all-consuming, ever-growing and ever-burning fire.
And it’s a good metaphor. But fires burn out. There are embers, sometimes, but they need fuel and tending. But the fire never burns at the same intensity as before.
After 15 years (of marriage), I now know that love is a rock. It is the firm place to stand in the storm…and I know some of the storms you’ve endured together. And the storms tried to break you…but the storms failed. Love never fails. Hard times financially, hard times spiritually, hard times with family, hard times with health, even the shadow of death…all broke against the unbreakable rock of love.
Love never fails. Not in 15 years. Not in 50 years. Not in the length, and breadth, and depth, and width of eternity….
Think about what I would have missed had I continued to procrastinate! I would never have had the JOY of reading this incredible gift John left in the basket! I would never have gotten a round tuit.
I also would never have experienced the DELIGHT of reading my grand-daughter Lydia’s brief tribute to Tom and me which I also got permission to share:
They were the reason my mom was born, and my Mom and Dad are the reason I was born. LOVE you, Grandpa and Grandma!
Procrastination almost robbed me of immeasurable JOY. What’s procrastination been robbing from you lately? It’s time to stop that thief! Let’s not wait until we can get a round tuit.