Did You Just Call Me a Pantywaist?

Sometimes I sit at the keyboard, move my fingers and the words just flow.  Other times, like tonight, there’s a struggle.  Oh, I have no shortage of stories; those go on forever.  I have lived over a half century, you know.  The problem is that I’m not ready to tell some of the stories for different reasons.  Some entail a lot more embarrassment than I’m ready to reveal, others seem too trivial to waste time with.  They’ll probably all come in time, but I need to be ready for them to come.

What to do?  Do I just close the program and go home?  It seems to me that it would be simpler to just write less often.  The Lovely Lady has given her permission.  “You don’t have to write everyday, you know,” she told me as I left the house earlier.  The day will come when I’ll take that advice, but for now, I want to persevere.  It took me such a long time to get up the courage to start that I’m worried I’ll falter soon and quit for lack of motivation or in discouragement.

I have been a quitter, you know…When I was quite young, our neighbors would invite us to go to the tomato fields and pick with them.  I agreed one day and rode the big flat bed truck out to the field…only to ride it back the first time it returned to the processing plant.  I had assumed that the day would be a lark, nothing more than an easy few hours of picking in the garden.  Boy, was I mistaken!  Suffice it to say that I was embarrassed by kids half my age and adults who looked so old that decrepit wouldn’t be a stretch to describe their physical prowess.  When I heard that the truck was coming back to town, I was climbing on in a minute, without a second thought.  Let them say whatever they wanted to…I was done!

A few years later, this time at about 13 or 14 years old, these same neighbors (who must have been a little forgetful) invited me to work with them in their concrete finishing business.  I made it a little longer this time, actually sticking out the job for 4 days.  Setting forms, cleaning concrete-covered tools, and digging trenches by hand in the nearly 100 degree heat and through the dry, sun-blasted soil, was incredibly tiring work, but by the third day, the sunburn I had started accumulating the first day was blistered and the motion necessary to do my work was not only exhausting, but also excruciating. So, once again I quit, walking home this time.

The list of things I have tried and quit abruptly includes not only a job or two, but various clubs, sports, and even a correspondence school.  I’m good at leaving things unfinished. A close examination of my workbench today will reveal at least 4 unfinished jobs, which may never be resumed.  Sometimes when we start things, we don’t count the cost, we don’t consider what the task really entails.  Then when we hit the brick walls, and it happens invariably, we “reassess”.  That’s what I like to call it anyway.  It sounds better than “waffle” or “renege”.  My mom had a colorful name for people like me, probably a bit politically incorrect.  She would say, “Oh, don’t be such a pantywaist!”  Well, when the going gets tough, the wimpy get going…the other way!

I will tell you proudly of my triumphs, although a closer examination of  them will demonstrate the influence of someone other than myself, a blessed marriage made easy by an amazing partner, a long term involvement in the same church, facilitated by fellowship with some of the best people I know, and my business, in which I have been motivated by enjoyment as much as by necessity.  God has been good and well I know it!  When I find myself disappointed by my shortcomings and failures, and they are many, I have only to look at His goodness and faithfulness to find encouragement and the stimulus to keep pushing forward.

The past is our school, providing us the tools to struggle back to our feet and get it right the next time.  Our whole life is a picture of grace and redemption, with second chances being the rule rather than the exception.  So, quit being a pantywaist and get going…in the right direction!  You’re surrounded by failures who kept at it until they achieved success.  Your turn is next!

“Age wrinkles the body.  Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
(Douglas MacArthur)

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