Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Jesus said, "I do only what I see the Father doing." Ideally I want to live my life that way. What is stopping me?

Only about 1000 things. Firstly I'm not always focused on what the Father is doing. Secondly, various degrees and combinations of passion, obligation, routine, pride, curiosity, boredom, exhaustion, prejudice and all manner of human emotions figure into my decisions.

Thirdly, and this one is really bothering me right now is that sometimes I'm manipulated into what I do. Manipulation irks me. I specifically hate being manipulated into doing something that I would probably do anyway out of the kindness of my heart or by direction of the Holy Spirit. Being manipulated causes me to become wary, to think cynically, to speak evasively, basically to become someone I don't want to be.

I was whining about this a few years ago and someone wisely advised me to stand above the manipulations, do the kind acts I've purposed to do and not feel obligation or guilt about the rest. Enough generalities. Here is the scenario.

Today I have three commitments on my calendar. This morning I awoke at 5 a.m. to meet the first. I wholeheartedly volunteered to drive my friend Della to the Buffalo airport an hour and a half away. She is on a six-week mission trip to the Philippines. It's a joy to be part of this venture.

Tonight at 6 p.m I will be accompanying my husband to a fundraising dinner for the Bible League. Again, it's a joy to be part of this, especially since it means I won't be cooking.

This afternoon at 2:30 (that's one hour from now) I'll be driving my 95-year-old friend and neighbour Mrs. Z to the hospital for a medical test of some sort. I call her a friend because I like her and I even like doing things for her. On occasion, I've told her to stop with the beating around the bush, to just ask me what she wants and I'll decide whether I can help her or not. She actually listened and tried to relate that way, but....

Last week she phoned me. "Marian, my friend Ina can't drive me to the hospital for a test at 3 o'clock because she has another appointment at 4 o'clock. This just came up. Can you help me?"

This sounded straightforward enough. I looked at the clock and my calendar and decided that I could drop everything and help her. The hospital was only about 10 minutes away. "I guess so," I committed.

"That's next week Tuesday," she added. "You don't have to stay. I will pay you for the gas."

"Okay I'll bring you." I recommitted.

So last night she phoned (right in the middle of Corner Gas, which I was enjoying immensely), to tell me that the appointment would probably be very short and wondered if I could wait to find out how short it would be and bring her home as well.

Now it seems to me that is what she wanted in the first place and I was prepared to do that in the first place, but having it put to me in this ass-backward way, in the middle of humorous sitcom (they are hard to come by) irked me. I hedged. I said it would depend a lot on the weather. If it was raining I would have to give my daughter a ride home from school. We left it at that.

So there it is. Normally I would consider it pure joy to drive a 95-year-old friend who is going blind to the hospital and wouldn't even consider leaving her to find her own way home, but that I feel I have been weaseled into doing it.

Now that I've got that off my chest, and it's not raining, I think I'll bring a book along.

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