As If I Really Could
By Dr. James Snyder
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been hoodwinked? You can’t point out the specifics, but something deep inside suggests you have been.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had a wonderful vacation at St. Augustine, one of our favorite places to go.
Something happened toward the end of our vacation that led me to suspect I was hoodwinked, but I couldn’t unwind the situation yet.
The toilet in our bathroom had clogged, and The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage went to the front desk to get a plunger.
She brought the plunger back to our room and for several minutes tried fixing our toilet. I heard her in there working on it, but she didn’t seem to be able to fix it, which surprised me.
I walked by the bathroom, looked in, and said something stupid, “Can I help you with that?”
The problem with that question was the response from my wife. “Yes, you can. Come in here and see if you can unplug the toilet.”
I had no expectation of fixing this problem; I just wanted to sound friendly. After a few severe plunges, all of a sudden, the toilet was unplugged and working perfectly.
Looking at me, my wife said, “Wow, you fixed it. You did a great job.”
Not realizing or noticing the hoodwinked element of what she was saying, I smiled and responded, “I’m so glad I could help.”
Driving home the next day, she mentioned several times that she was truly grateful for the wonderful job I did with the toilet.
After an hour of driving and listening, I sensed something was wrong. I could not put my fingers on it, but I felt something was wrong somewhere in the atmosphere I was living in.
We returned from our trip, unpacked, and returned to our routine.
The next day about the middle of the morning, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came to my office and said, “I was wondering, could you come and help me with something?”
A leg on one of her tables needed to be replaced, and she could not unscrew the bolt that held it together.
Looking at me, she said, “Do you think you could unscrew that bolt for me?”
I have screwed up many things, but very few have I unscrewed. So I picked up the wrench, and after several minutes of struggling, I finally got it loose. I smiled at my wife and said, “There you are, my dear.” Then I walked back to my office.
For the next several days, she called me to help her fix something, and most of them I could not fix. Maybe I can unscrew a screw or a bolt, but that’s the extent of my fix-it ability.
At supper that night, she smiled at me and said, “I still can’t get over how you fixed that toilet on our vacation.”
As she smiled at me, I saw some twinkle in her eye that caused me to think something was amiss. I’m not skilled in the hoodwinking business, but I was beginning to think that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was. She is excellent in many things, and I’m beginning to understand that if anybody can hoodwink me, it is her.
Am I being hoodwinked? And if so, what do I do about it?
I had to think this thing through in developing a plan that would work. She can see through many things, so I had to develop something to the far right of her seeing ability.
I devised a plan but did not think I could go through with it. After all, there would be a lot of plotting and, eventually, a drop or two of blood. But it might be worth it if I do it correctly.
Not too long after, she called on me for another fix-it project. I had gone over this plot in my mind 100 times and was hoping it would work.
She appeared at the door of my office one morning and asked, “Can you help me fix something? I’ve been working on it all morning. I just cannot get it right.” Then she flashed a smile at me.
I flashed a smile back and followed her to her latest fix-it project. She had a dresser on the back porch she was trying to fix. One drawer was stuck, and she could not get the screw out to enable the drawer to come out.
She handed me the screwdriver and said, “I just can’t get that screw out.”
I sighed very deeply because I knew that it was now or never. I bent over with the screwdriver to be a little bit out of her sight, and as I was working on the screw, I pinched my left thumb so that it would start to bleed, and then I yelled, “Ouch.”
I turned around and showed her my bloodied thumb, and boy, was it paining. She looked at me rather frightened and said, “Come with me to the bathroom, and I’ll fix your thumb.”
Some things are worth it.
I couldn’t help but think of a verse in the Bible, “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Peter 3:17).
Sometimes it is better not to correct something but rather “suffer for well doing.” I’m still trying to learn that.
Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.jamessnyderministries.com.