Well, I'm back from Nashville. Had a meeting-a-thon for NAUMS (National Association of United Methodist Scouters). Lots of good stuff, lots of boring stuff, mostly just way too much stuff. We did a year's business in a day and a half. I got in last night (or rather, this morning) at 1:30 a.m. I'm basically frazzled.
Worship at The Upper Room was good, though. I needed that. The message was particularly apt for me, the communion was lovely, and I enjoyed the company in my pew. Initially, I was thinking of just punting (not going). After all, I was out of town, tired, no responsibilities. A day off from church might have seemed in order. I went mostly from peer pressure and boredom (everybody else is going, and there's nothing else to do). And God met me there. Even in a perfect world, said CS Lewis, there would be a little of the natural resistance to God to be overcome -- though there, overcoming it would be a delight, not a debate.
Well, much to do, much to do.
So I stomped into the department office one day, snorting fire about somebody or other. Dr. Buethe said, "Now Art, it takes all kinds." To which I replied, sulfurously, "No, it doesn't. There are some kinds we can do without."
Another time, I was grumped about all the hassles I was currently dealing with. "Life is just one [blankety-blank] thing after another," I said. Kindly old Dr. Buethe -- one semester from retirement -- replied, "No, Art; life is THE SAME [blankety-blank] thing over and over."
So there was this old boy who decided to build himself a pond, just for pleasure. He picked a secluded spot on the farm, laid out an attractive bed, planted flowering trees all around it, and even brought in fine white sand to make a little beach. He put up an ornamental bench where he could sit and watch the birds. He called his special place his "oasis."
One day, up at the house, he heard some strange, high-pitched sounds coming from over the hill. So he told his wife that it sounded like an animal had gotten loose and was over by the pond, and he'd better go and check it out.
When he came up over the little dam and could take in the scene at the pond, the first thing he noticed was some young women sunbathing on his beach. They were very scantily clad. Not to put too fine a point on it, they were stark naked. As he approached, they all shrieked and ran into the water.
The man walked slowly over to his bench and sat down, giving him a beautiful view of the heads of the various girls bobbing in the water. (They were all being very careful to expose themselves only from the chin up.) "Go away!" they said. "We can't come out until you leave!"
The man said, "Oh, don't worry about me, ladies. I'm just here to feed the alligator."