Time spent thinking about pondering can be helpful

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 8/9/19

At the risk of losing any more of my regular readers (assuming there still are some) or at the very least annoying them, I’d like to make one more reference to my recent operation.

Granted, I …

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Time spent thinking about pondering can be helpful

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At the risk of losing any more of my regular readers (assuming there still are some) or at the very least annoying them, I’d like to make one more reference to my recent operation.

Granted, I know I’m not the only person in the world who has ever had a visit in the operating room with a surgeon and his or her tools of the trade. But I am aware that in the last 20 years, I’ve had about a dozen or so of those events with most, if not all, chalked up to what Willie Mays (I think) said, “You play ball with the uniform you’re issued.” If it wasn’t the immortal Mr. Mays who said that, it should have been for he surely used his uniform well. Mine hasn’t been all that bad, but I am aware that my folks gave me some lousy arthritis genes, hence the opportunity for joint repair and replacement.

The good news for me — and I am grateful — is that only one of those times was potentially life-threatening and it and the overwhelming majority of the others turned out well. There are many among us who struggle daily, hourly even, with major issues and it behooves us all to remember and be as helpful to them as we can.

So, please believe two things just now. Number one, I plan to drop the subject after this week and, secondly, in addition to the healing, there are some good things that can come out the event and subsequent healing time. I know I have mentioned that before and theologically speaking, it reminds me of the truth that in hard and difficult times, if we are in tune, God can reveal good and helpful understanding to us.

For instance, early on I gave up on even trying to find anything remotely helpful on television, even with a hundred channels, when I’d awaken at 2 a.m. because I’d slept four hours in the late afternoon before bedtime. So, that time became dedicated to devotional and Bible reading, dropping long-overdue notes, even reading through some of the 87 books scattered around the floor in my study until at about 5 o’clock when I’d get sleepy and crawl back into the bed or recliner.

That quiet personal time also became a period to think, ponder even. Being flat on your back literally and figuratively can lead you to such an activity. But here’s the deal and what I want to point out. I’m convinced there is a vast difference between “thinking” and “pondering.” You can “think” about lots of things: why my Cardinals can’t hold onto first place in the National League Central, is there any pie left, and where did I leave my walking stick?

You can then, if you choose, move on to pondering — those topics or others. Why is church attendance and participation like a roller coaster, up and down?; why do cows walk the same well-worn path through the pasture when they move from one place to the next?; and why am I a “packrat”?, just to name a few.

Then, if you’re really willing, you can go deeply into the mind and heart and really ponder. Who am I? Why am I here? Where is “here?”? Why do I do the things I shouldn’t and leave undone those things I should do? Ditto for things I say or think. What kind of legacy am I leaving for my children and grands? And the rest of the world? Will it make any difference I passed this way?

While all three of those levels can be interesting and enlightening, I find I can’t do but so much really pondering before I need a break back to the simple “think” process. If you’ve never ventured down any of these roads, I encourage you to try it sometime. I don’t suggest you have hip replacement surgery to get some down time; there are better options. But I believe the process and the exercise can be helpful.

And if you try it and run out of things to think about, I have come across two for your consideraion. One is, although much of today’s television programming is garbage, from time to time there will be something worthwhile and even more rarely there will be a second offering just as good being shown at the same time on another channel. When that happens and you are trying to watch them both by flipping back and forth, why is it that lengthy disgusting commercials will air at the same time on both networks, thus preventing your attempt to watch them both.

And secondly, what is it in human nature that makes folks park their vehicles right next to yours when there are no other cars in the parking lot? You can park in space 47, be the only car there and when you come out of the store, Joe Shmoo has nestled his ride four inches from your door in space 46 preventing you from opening the door and there are still no other vehicles present. I used to keep up with how many times each of those happened but have since run out of fingers and toes.

When you think on those things — or even ponder — please let the rest of the world know. I’d like for some of my questions to have answers.


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