T&T: The Fallback
Taking more edifying detours
Downtime is inevitable. Or, as is the condition of modernity, you're in traffic. The question isn't really as much how to avoid idle time, but what to do with it.
I was talking today with a dear friend about how I react when my plans fall through. My reaction is initial frustration, but then, joy. I dip into my list of things I could be doing. I did that today - was going to help a friend with some stuff, but wound up honing my hand plane skills and doing some reading of Joel Salatin.
These hiccups happen, especially in machines. We design equipment to have hard-stops so that when (not if) the motors or hydraulics give out, the thing won’t come crashing down too hard. So it is in our lives.
You're in the shop and you break the last endmill that will work to machine your part. Tough. You could, I suppose, call up your local tool rep and drive an hour to get a new one. Or, get it on order via snail mail, and start working on the next part in your list.
Or I'm designing a piece of equipment and a vendor isn't answering my phone calls, so I can't get the information to proceed on my design. I could either ballpark it (probably wrong), and have to re-do the work later. Or, I just halt work on that section and move onto a different one. It’s ok.
(You may notice this 'chisel' works great in conjunction with a certain 'hammer' - we'll talk about that next time.)
It matters what we have as our fallbacks - because if we don’t have good ones, we’ll probably be mindless and stupid at best, and impatient and destructive at worst. As one dialogue says:
But as I told you before, it is simple: Just fill up your idle time with the Prayer.
I don't have idle time.
Look. You drive a car, don't you? While you do that, you can neither read nor solve mathematical puzzles. Use that time to recite the Jesus Prayer. Or, while you cook, wash the floor, wait at a bus stop, recite the prayer. If you get into the habit of filling up these empty time slots with the Jesus Prayer you will experience extraordinary benefits in your heart.
We are called to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16). Make the most of it. You will face roadblocks, waiting periods, and detours - will you take them with frustration, or with grace?