Friday, April 8, 2016

Upkeep is part of wisdom

So, being a person who loves "a little sleep, a little slumber, a folding of the hands to rest", the end of Proverbs 24 always makes me wince a bit.

But the last time I listened through it, I was struck by the image of the stone wall that was broken down.

For a stone wall to be there, surrounding the sluggard's vineyard, it had to have been built at some point, right? Sure.

And that's a lot of work! I haven't ever built a stone wall, that I can recall, but I've helped build lots of other things, installed things: a shelter, a roof, a plot of lawn that needs to be turned into garden ...

That kind of thing is lot of work. Building and installing things is a lot of work.

But here's the thing I'm realizing: it's the sort of work a lazy man can do.

It's the sort of work that I can do.

You can build something on an impulse. You can be in love with the idea of the thing, and push yourself flat-out to get it done. That takes a kind of energy, sure, and that energy looks like the opposite of laziness.

But it's not.

It might just be impulsiveness. It might just be hubris. It might just be a desperate escape from boredom.

Wisdom, though ... wisdom and diligence ... that's something else again.

After you build the wall, diligence is taking care of it. Diligence is going over it regularly and doing the necessary repair. Diligence is pulling out the weeds that grow in the cracks.

There's a regularity of care implied here, and it's opposed to the impulsive method I often use in order to get things done.  There are so many times when I don't bother to get my work done until it becomes urgent.

But that kind of scrambling seems, I think, very different than the picture of wisdom that Proverbs paints.

Wisdom is calmer than that. Wisdom is more orderly than that.

I want to learn the grace of upkeep. Because I am more and more convinced that upkeep is part of wisdom, and that the best things don't happen without that kind of diligent, constant care.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


Kerry said...

what a good word today, Jessica! I shared this on facebook.

Jessica Snell said...

Thank you so much, Kerry!

(I'm sure you can tell, but "the grace of upkeep" is definitely one of those things I'm working towards, but have not yet attained. :D )