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OUT TO PASTOR: Not everything is as it seems

For the last five days, I have not been able to sleep nor close my eyes at night. It’s been a nightmare.

During the last four weeks, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly have been sequestered in our home and loving it.

I cannot remember a time in our marriage that we have spent so much time together with no serious obligations needing attention. It is marvelous to spend 24/7 together. If this is what senior retirement is like, I’m giving it some earnest consideration. Nobody ever told me this could be so wonderful.

Spending time together is great; my wife spends time in her craft room, doing what she does in that craft room. She has been making all sorts of things and loving it. I think she made a bunch of masks and then some signs that said, Faith/Fear to give to some friends.

I have been catching up on some reading and writing projects that I was behind on. I did not realize how much I had to do until I sat down to do it. From the time I sat down to do it, I was exhausted and had to take a nap.

Never in my life have I been able to take a nap whenever I want to, and nobody harasses me. I do not even feel guilty about taking a nap in the afternoon.

One great blessing of all this time together is our eating schedule. My wife is a marvelous cook, and I am a marvelous eater. We make a beautiful pair, and it looks like we were made for each other.

Spending time together has been very therapeutic for both of us. Too often, we're busy doing this and that to help this person or that person. We don’t mind doing that, but sometimes we can get all caught up just doing.

Then, much to my surprise, something changed. We were watching the news and some newscasters, supposedly from their home, had not shaved in quite a while, which was noticeable.

I turned to my wife and said, “I know how I can save a lot of money!”

“How’s that?” She asked.

“I can save money,” I said as seriously as I could muster at the time, “by not purchasing any toiletry items like aftershave and shaving cream.”

She just looked at me as though I was a little bit crazy, but I think she thought I was a whole lot crazier.

“In fact,” I said with a sarcastic attitude, “I don’t have to shave, I’ll just grow a beard.” Then I laughed.

I glanced over at my wife, and she was smiling one of those smiles I have not seen in a long time. I could not quite figure out the nature of that smile, but I knew it was not one of her best smiles.

“Would you care to repeat that?” She asked.

With her strange smile and question, I was completely knocked off my guard. I did not know how to interpret this.

“I don’t need to shave,” I repeated, “I’ll just grow a beard like everybody else.”

As I was saying that, I was giggling and having a wonderful time. I did not know at that time that I might be in trouble. That is the problem with husbands. They never know when they are in trouble.

They may be in trouble when the wife is scowling or when she is smiling. There is no way to tell the difference. I was in that position.

“So,” she said rather slowly, “you’re not going to shave? Is that what I’m hearing?”

I knew I was joking, but I did not know if she knew that I was joking, and therefore I did not know if I was joking.

I was backed in a corner and needed to play this forward. “Yes, I’m not going to shave until all of this is over. I’ll grow a nice beard.” Then I let out a hearty laugh.

She then laughed. “This is how it will go,” she explained, “if you don't shave during the day, I will shave you at night when you’re sleeping.”

In the middle of one of my laughs, I stopped and started to process what she said.

I looked at her, she looked at me, and I did not know what in the world to think. Would she shave me while I was sleeping?

All she did was smile one of “those smiles,” and started back watching TV.

I have lived long enough to know that there are many things I do not know, and I was in a position where I did not know if what she was telling me was what she was going to do.

In the following silence, I could not help but think of two Bible verses by King Solomon. “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids” (Proverbs 6:4). And, “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13).

One thing I have learned in life is never take anything for granted. When you do, things never seem to come out right.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-216-3025 or e-mail The church web site is

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