Mysteries surround us:

– There are physical mysteries: why is it that the wood door on the front of my house expands and sticks in the summer, but is fine now during the winter, yet the wood side door of my garage is fine during the summer, but is now sticking?

– Then there are social mysteries, such as why is it acceptable to be seen outside in a bathing suit, but not in your underwear? Why is it inevitable that someone will introduce you to a new person when you are looking your worst? Or for me as clergy, why do people start talking to you in a counseling mode, while you are naked or changing clothes in the gym? Being introduced as a chaplain at that point is also awkward.

– There are inside-yourself personal mysteries. I live in a house over a hundred years old. Over the years, the foundation has settled in a not totally horizontal way. Consequently, both of my dressers have a single drawer that comes out on its own. The others stay put, the single comes out as though the dresser were haunted. But not all of the time: they each have good days, bad days for staying put. So finally after six months, I decided to do something about it. I decided to find something to lift up the front of the dressers, so they would have a harder time sliding out. In the Vermont Country Store catalog, I found solid-wood cedar bed-raisers. Two for each dresser should do it, and if they are strong enough to hold up a bed with people in it, they should be strong enough to hold up my dressers!

The package arrived over a week ago, and is still sitting on my kitchen counter, unopened. One of these days I will open it up. But to put them under my dressers, I have to first pull out the drawers or empty them, so I can lift. Any day or weekend now I will do it. At least, that is my plan. But as the days add up, I have to ask, “Why don’t I just do it?” It is a mystery. I feel much like when I worked in the Washington State Unemployment Office just after college, and would occasionally man the phone desk. People would call in, complaining that their check had not arrived. I would check the computer, and see that that there was no red flag on their case. So I would tell them, “It should be arriving any time now. If it hasn’t arrived in a month, we can put a tracer on it.” “It should be arriving any time now” is right up there with “One of these days I will do this.” Should I die tomorrow, whoever comes into my house will see the box of bed raisers, and wonder.

I add up other things I intend to do “one of these days.” I once saw a wonderful cartoon in The New Yorker magazine. Two men are standing talking in hell, with flames surrounding them. The caption read, “What gets me is that most of my sins were sins of omission!”

AUGH! I have a nagging feeling that could be what I will be charged with when I come before God. Not things I have done as much as good things I intended to, but never quite got around to doing. I wonder how many others are like me in that? Lent will be upon us soon, a time for personal reflection and review. May we use the time as it was meant to be used! And may I have my dressers fixed by then as well.