Procrastination and ‘The Great Pause’

My family and I have lived in our current house here in Seymour for almost three years now.

In the spring of our first year in this house, we began to notice some strange noises coming from our closet in the early morning hours of each day. Spring in southern Indiana tends to be a fickle season, providing residents with summer-like conditions one minute and winter-like conditions the next. Just last week, we were treated to one near-80-degree day and a frost warning just hours later.

It’s not uncommon for our heater to run in the morning hours, to have our windows open and fans on in the afternoon and to be back to the heater when it gets dark again. All of these facts lead to some interesting sounds as the furnace starts and stops and as the house adjusts to the change in temperature. For months, we attributed the strange noises in our closet to these factors.

As the temperatures finally leveled out and the heater was no longer necessary, we continued hearing the aforementioned strange noises, but new sounds began to enter the mix. This inspired us to explore the situation a little further.

We would stand in our closet listening for the sounds to manifest. First, there would be a subtle scraping sound, like someone crumpling tinfoil. This sound would be followed by a quick sequence of high-pitched squeaks. The foil crumpling would return, and all would go quiet.

It didn’t take very long to realize what was going on: A family of birds had taken up residence in the ductwork above our closet.

Part of me felt like I should immediately evict this squatting family from our residence, but compassion got the better of me, and I decided to wait until after the babies flew the nest to remove it and take measures to assure they were unable to return.

Compassion for the birds turned into complacency and, you guessed it, a year later, our happy little avian family returned and expanded. This year, I decided it was time to finally make my move and stop the insanity.

I called a good friend of mine from the church, and he came and helped me evaluate the situation. We surveyed the birds’ point of entry. Upon inspection, we were unable to see or reach the nest, which meant they had pushed deep into the ductwork, so we went inside and shimmied our way through the attic.

We quickly discovered the birds were not content simply coming into and out of the ductwork and had pecked a hole in it, providing themselves with a convenient entrance into the house proper. This was all good and fine for the grown birds who knew the way in and out but not so great for their offspring.

Making our way around the attic, we found not one but two petrified adolescent birds. My failure to act upon the issue when it first came to my attention allowed it to grow and develop. My procrastination caused me more discomfort and cost me more in the long run than if I had just dealt with the issue right away.

While not all instances of procrastination are as dramatic as the example above, procrastination can be a problem. We are all tempted with it from time to time.

This is particularly true when life is either extremely busy or extremely slow. We either excuse our procrastination because we don’t have enough time to get it done or we allow ourselves to believe it can wait until later because we have time to spare. I think that’s one of the biggest dangers of our current reality.

Many are now calling this “The Great Pause.” Life as we know it may be vastly different than it was, but we still have lives to be lived. There is still truth to be learned, skill to be developed and work to be done.

The great temptation of this time is to think we have time to waste. I would argue, however, it is time to be redeemed and wisely utilized. The writer of Ecclesiastes give us this encouragement, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Each day is a gift full of potential and promise, and tomorrow isn’t certain. Windows of opportunity have been opened in the midst of this moment in history. Let us make the most of it because before we know it, the opportunity will have passed us by, and we’ll find it takes more effort to do tomorrow what we could have done today.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].