Dr. James L. Snyder
If there's anybody that can be conned, it's Yours Truly. It's not so much that I'm stupid; I'm just naïve. I believe when somebody says something, they mean exactly what they say.
So, if you can't swindle me, you might as well hang it up and get a real job. I must confess I often know a certain person is trying to take advantage of me. But, that's another story.
One problem I see is that people are always blaming someone else for their problems. I must confess I do that on occasion, probably more so than I will acknowledge.
To blame someone else for my problem gets me off the hook, or so I think.
I gladly will take credit, but I'm slow in accepting blame. I'm trying to change that a little bit, but it's a slow progress.
The other day the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were going downtown to do some shopping. I don’t always go with her when she’s shopping, but sometimes it’s necessary.
During these times, I always allow her to drive her vehicle. She has a wonderful red van, and enjoys driving it. I encourage her to drive it, and not because I don't like to drive, or because she's a better driver than me.
If the truth were known, and I keep this a little under the table, I allow her to drive because I am not using the gas in my vehicle when she is driving. I'm not cheap, but I am rather stingy when it comes to money.
She is an excellent driver, and why shouldn't she be? I'm the one who taught her how to drive. Enough said on that subject.
As we were driving down the main street, several cars swayed in and out of the traffic, and my wife almost hit one.
In complete frustration, she said, "For Pete's sake, what's wrong with people these days?"
Because she was in the driver's seat, I needed to go along with her and keep my mouth closed. There are many times when I need to open my mouth, but I have yet to discover which times. While she's driving, this is one of the times when I keep my mouth closed and my thoughts to myself.
She reiterated this phrase several times to the store and back home again.
I helped take the store items into the house while I kept my mouth closed.
We had supper, and then graduated into the living room to have our coffee and watch a little bit of TV news. I like to try to keep up with what's going on in the world.
Several stories were just outrageous, and people were doing such crazy things.
It wasn’t long before my wife said, “For Pete’s sake, what’s wrong with people today?”
Okay, I think I've had enough of that, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it without sinking my ship.
"Who," I said as calmly as possible, "is Pete, and what does he had to do with anything?"
She looked at me, gave me one of her stares, and then went back to watching the news.
It wasn't long before another story came across the screen, and she said, "For Pete's sake, doesn't anybody know any different?"
I tried controlling myself. Honestly, I tried. But at this point, it had crossed over the line, and I said to her, "Who is Pete? And do I know him?"
I tried my best to control any giggle. I looked at her, and she looked back at me with another one of her stares.
“Well, who do you think he is?”
At that point, I was tempted to answer, "Is Pete any relation to Jake?" I knew that I would be in more trouble than I could handle at the time. I sense she was getting a little frustrated, but most of her frustration was in my direction.
To look at me and said, “What are you laughing at?”
I couldn't contain myself at that point. I replied, "I just was thinking of a joke." No sense in showing my hand at this point.
For several days she never used that phrase, at least in my hearing. And I was waiting for it.
I can only hold myself for so long. One night there was a loud noise like gunshots outside, and we couldn't comprehend what it was.
Looking at my wife, I said, "Call Pete and ask him what's going on."
She gave me one of her looks and finally said, “Why don’t you call Jake and ask him?”
Finally, we laughed together most heartily. I love it when a joke comes together.
I thought about this for a couple of days. How often we blame people for things I don’t even make sense? We really don’t want to take personal responsibility for a lot of things.
Thinking about this, I remembered a biblical passage. "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12-13).
Blaming others is not a new phenomenon. But, it only gets us into trouble and what started the mess were in today. Accept the blame and get on with life.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.