Religious column: Life expense

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins
The grating buzzer of the alarm clock broke the peace of the early morning calm. Beulah begrudgingly rolled over and gave her husband, Ralph, an elbow to the lower ribs, giving him a quickly painful entry into his day.
As was the routine, for most every workday morning, Ralph sat on edge of the bed gathering emotional strength for what lay ahead. Foreseeably, it was going to be a typical day. First, he had to shower, shave and eat breakfast. Then it was off to work at the local wholesale store. It was all so very familiar, but this day would be filled with what their church pastor called “life expense,”
After breakfast, and timing his departure so he would arrive at work with five minutes to spare, Ralph sauntered out to the driveway and approached his aging truck. It was leaning at an odd angle and, as he approached the driver’s side, it was clear that the rear tire was flat. Soon, an expletive crossed his lips, as he angrily knew this was going to disrupt his regular routine and make him late for work.
After a call to his understanding boss, Ralph replaced the tire, put on a fresh set of clothes and left the house. Going too fast, to make up the lost time, he was stopped and given a ticket. When it was found he had an expired registration, he was given another. Ralph’s day was not going particularly well and it was early.
Arriving at the store, the
bedraggled fellow finally punched his timecard to begin his work. It was something he liked to do, so the day passed quickly. However, it seemed
as though everyone was in a bad mood and irritated about so much. Ralph reflected upon the start to his day, and his own irritation with it. Now, he had at least one new tire to buy and then there was the matter of the traffic tickets. He also reflected on telling his wife about all of this.
After dinner, the couple settled in on the comfortable sofa in the den. Ralph related the days early events, as Beulah began to chuckle. For her too, it had been a trying day, as she told him that there was a summons for jury duty in the mail, someone had taken her lunch out of the company’s refrigerator, and there was a long traffic delay on the way home. They could not help but laugh out loud at their day.
For each of them, there was a bedrock understanding of what was the cost of living, grounded in their uplifting Faith. Each had had a trying day, but none of the challenges were insurmountable, and they were not alone in their struggle. The only real expense here was time which, as is given to us, is not infinite. So often we. begrudgingly, give up our time to life expenses; that time necessary to deal with all of the vagaries of life itself. Consider our earlier ancestors, and the life expenses they had to expend. Clearly, most of their efforts were spent on the essentials of survival and not dealing with the comparatively less impactful challenges of today.
So it goes with the worship of our Creator. For each of us, it is precisely a matter of our perspectives and understanding the value of our time with Him. For some it may be a begrudging expense, for others, it may be a willing sense of gratitude and obligation. As with Beulah and Henry, their days were made better, their understanding deeper, and their burdens lighter, with their faith in God. So may it be with each of us.

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