Monthly Archives: September 2012

Is It Good To Be Lazy?

Laziness isn’t doing nothing. Laziness is doing the wrong thing.

I once listened to a presentation by a speaker named Stephen Schmidt who pointed out that in North American society people more frequently commit the sin of overwork rather than the sin of laziness.  We live at such a hectic pace that when we finally get away from work and responsibility we simply do nothing. We sprawl on the couch or lie on a tropical beach if we can afford it, watch mindless television or just sleep.

Being lazy on Lokrum Island in Croatia

Is it all right to be lazy sometimes? Many of us have been brought up to believe it is not. The book of Proverbs in the Bible uses the image of a ‘sluggard’ as a metaphor for the lazy person and there appears to be nothing good about a sluggard.

According to Proverbs lazy people are poor (10:4) foolish, sleep too much, make excuses for not working ( 26: 13-16) don’t care for their property(24:30-31) don’t use their assets properly(12:27) end up losing their independence and power(12:24) and see only obstacles in their way rather than opportunities (15:19). Who would want to be a lazy person?  None of us really wants to turn into a sluggard. Yet we’d all admit that we are sluggards at certain times and in certain areas of our life. 

Sometimes I’m lazy about relationships, not investing the efforts I should to spend time with people I love and do things for people I care about. Sometimes I’m lazy about housework, my writing, my spiritual life.  I play free cell, watch game shows, read People magazine or surf the web instead of doing things that are more important. 

Laziness isn’t doing nothing. Laziness is doing the wrong thing. 

C.S. Lewis said,  “The laziest boy in the class is the one who works the hardest in the end.”  Could it be that one of the reasons we feel so overworked is because we’ve procrastinated? We waste valuable time watching YouTube videos and frequenting Facebook; or in my case baking muffins and cookies, cleaning up my e-mail in-box and watching re-runs of Modern Family.  Suddenly we are facing a deadline and we have to work like crazy to meet it. 

Teaching was my work for most of my life

Stephen Schmidt in his thought-provoking sermon pointed out the importance of balance in life between three things– work, rest and cruising in neutral gear.   He said that work takes energy out of us. Our careers, home chores and community commitments are work.

Reading has always been a relaxing activity for me

Rest rejuvenates us and puts energy back into us.  Activities like reading interesting books, cultivating our spiritual life, doing enjoyable things with our families and getting exercise are part of good rest.  

Having a back massage in Ubud, Bali

Being in neutral gear is important too.  We all need times when we turn our minds off by napping, listening to music, lying in a hammock or having a massage.

The trick to leading a healthy life is figuring out how to balance work, rest and cruising in neutral gear. Perhaps different people need different amounts of each, and perhaps at different points in our lives, we need different percentages of rest, work and neutral cruising. I am finding in my retirement I am struggling more with figuring out that right balance simply because I have more discretionary time at my disposal.

Laziness isn’t doing nothing. Laziness is doing the wrong thing. 

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Filed under Reflections, Religion, Retirement

Questions at The Vatican

Was it right to take a picture? Did I want to confess my sins? What is ‘good taste’ when it comes to art? Should I visit the pope?  Those are just a few of the many questions I considered when I visited The Vatican in Rome.

Dave standing in the rain outside The Vatican

Dave standing in the rain outside The Vatican

Jeanette, our Vatican tour guide gave us quite a lecture before we entered the Sistine Chapel. She emphasized the importance of not taking photos. She said camera flashes did irreparable damage to the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Yet in the chapel there were people galore snapping pictures and making video recordings. Exasperated security guards moved agitatedly among them trying to get them to stop. Should I take a photo too? I wanted to, but my husband was the voice of reason. He said there were a million photos of the Sistine Chapel ceiling on the internet. Why did I need another one? Did I want my grandchildren to be able to see the masterpieces on the ceiling someday or did I want to play a part in destroying them? I decided not to take a picture.  I think I did the right thing.         

confessional booth at the VaticanThere were confessional booths in St. Peter’s Basilica with multi-lingual priests inside ready to listen to you. I was tempted to enter one to see what it would be like to formally confess. My husband Dave agreed to pose outside one of the handsome oak confessional booths so I could take his picture, but he told me he felt no need to go inside.  He wasn’t about to confess to anyone, least of all a complete stranger. I decided to follow his lead.      

naked statue with seashell the vaticanWe saw plenty of naked statues in the Vatican, many of Biblical characters. Some had strategically placed leaves or seashells covering sexual organs. Apparently when Martin Luther was busy criticizing the Catholic Church the pope became more circumspect and ordered the shells and leaves added to the statues. There is a story that Pope Pius IX in a conservative streak once ran through the Vatican at night with a hammer and chisel cutting penises off of statues. Whole boxes of the severed male organs have been found in the Vatican storage rooms. Was that pope being a prude or is the naked human body an artistic thing of beauty?  What is ‘good taste’ in art, especially in religious art?

This sculpture is supposedly showing the world torn apart by war and suffering, but there is hope that a new world will emerge from the old one.

This sculpture is supposedly showing the world torn apart by war and suffering, but there is hope that a new world will emerge from the old one.

You can make arrangements to have an audience with the pope at the Vatican. I figured seeing him in person would make for a great newspaper or magazine story. However I gave it some thought and decided it wasn’t worth all the paperwork and waiting time.  Turns out it was a moot question anyway because the day I was at the Vatican the Pope wasn’t receiving visitors.  He was busy meeting with a group of Irish bishops about a scandal. The Irish police had issued a lengthy report accusing Dublin church officials of decades of covering up child sexual abuse by their clergy. It was probably more important for the Pope to deal with that issue than to see me.

 I jotted down dozens of questions in my notebook right after I visited the Vatican. It was a thought provoking place.

You might want to read some other posts about our visits to Italy…….

Visiting Pompei      

A Bizarre Museum in Florence  

Galileo’s Grocery List    

Michelangelo’s David                         


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Filed under Art, Italy, Religion, Travel

Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

Read about our afternoon in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden with our friend Rebekah on my Destination Winnipeg site.

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Filed under Art, People, Winnipeg

Labor Day Weekend Acrostic

We’ve had a great Labor Day weekend. My husband Dave always teases me about writing acrostics but here’s mine anyway. 

L- lunch with my good friend Wendy at Oakridge Nursery Tea Room

A- amazing meal at our friend Rudy and Sue’s house- Sue is a consummate cook

B- being brave enough to submit an article to a paying market I haven’t written for before

O- organizing all the materials I brought home from Hong Kong to finish writing my book, packing them up and getting them ready to ship back to Hong Kong

R- reading the latest offering in the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. This one is called The Double Comfort Safari Club

D- delightful Skype visit with our older son, his wife and our grandson

A- a new watch bracelet and new Teva sandals were two shopping purchases this weekend

Y- Yes I’m getting excited about our upcoming trip to New York. I started doing research on restaurants, museums and tours

W- writing my Carillon column about five women I’d nominate to be immortalized in a statue in Steinbach, the city where I grew up, because of their important contributions to their community

E- enjoying our first meal at our younger son and his wife’s new home since their wedding in July

E- eating a lovely lunch at our daughter-in-law’s parents’ home after attending morning worship at their church

K- kitchen time making a big batch of turkey chili soup for next week’s lunches

E- entertaining my brother and his partner. They came for dinner and told us all about their recent trip to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma

N- Netflix subscription treat. Dave and I subscribed to Netflix this weekend and I enjoyed the  French movie My Afternoons with Margueritte

D- double visit- both Friday and Monday with my Mom while she was having dialysis in the hospital.  We always find lots of things to talk about.


I didn’t do much labor on Labor Day weekend, but I think that’s the idea anyway. 

We sure did lots of eating

Other posts related to this one…..

A Walk in New York City

My First Published Piece of Fiction

The Book is Here

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Filed under Poetry, Reflections