by Father Mark Goldasich
How do you deal with the NUTs in your life?
If we’re honest, we all have some, right? Don;t you find them annoying and obnoxious? It seems like the more you want to get away from them, the more persistent they are.
They even follow you when you move. Yes, the NUTs in your life will eventually drive you nuts!
Well, I’m not about to let that happen to me! As summer transitions into autumn this Sunday, it’s time to get back into a more productive frame of mind. That’s why my goal this fall is to eliminate some NUTs from my life!
Whoa! Rereading those above paragraphs, you might get the wrong idea. The NUTs I’m talking about are Nagging Unfinished Tasks. These are the things that pop into your mind just as you’re drifting off to sleep and cause your stomach to churn. They’re not necessarily the most important things to accomplish, but they do eat away at you. In fact, many of them are just little, seemingly insignificant things that we never quite get around to doing, yet they rob us of peace of mind. Consider this “little known” story from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
Grumpy, Sleepy and Dopey were on their lunch break at the diamond mine. Grumpy picked up his lunchbox and said, “I really hate peanut butter and liverwurst sandwiches. If I have to eat one more peanut butter and liverwurst sandwich, I’m going to run screaming into the woods.”
Sleepy said, “I know what you mean. Every day I open my lunchbox and it’s the same old thing: salami and ketchup. I’m so tired of salami and ketchup sandwiches. If I have one again today, I’m going smash my lunchbox with a shovel.”
Dopey said, “Yup, a broccoli and mustard sandwich every day. If that’s what’s in my lunch today, I’ll go jump into the river.”
At noon, all three gingerly opened their lunchboxes and discovered the same thing they ate every day. Grumpy flipped out and ran screaming into the woods, Sleepy pummeled his lunchbox with the shovel, and Dopey jumped into the river.
That evening, the other four dwarfs told Snow White what had happened at lunchtime.
She sighed and said, “Well, Grumpy and Sleepy always whine about the lunches I make for them.
But I don’t understand what got into Dopey. After all, he makes his own lunch!” (Adapted from “Jokelopedia” by Eva Blank, Alison Benjamin, et al.)
Aren’t there times when we’re like Dopey? We keep doing the same thing — not changing anything — and then wonder why nothing changes. Well, it doesn’t do any good to just think about, worry over or cuss and discuss those NUTs in our lives. We’ve got to actually do something about them.
The other day, for instance, as I got a fork out of the utensil drawer in my kitchen, I got upset for the hundredth time at how the knob was so loose. In fact, that was true for three other drawers as well. Taking (finally) the advice of Bill O’Hanlon, author of “Do One Thing Different,” I immediately got out a screwdriver and tightened the knobs on all those drawers. Time expended: 43 seconds . . . and the task was no longer nagging or unfinished.
Another NUT of mine was wanting to do more spiritual reading. One night before retiring, I put a book right next to the Keurig coffee maker. Now, as it’s doing its brewing, I automatically pick up that book and get in a few minutes of reading and inspiration. It’s a great start to the day.
So what’s something that you’d like to work on this autumn? Anything from getting to Mass on time to praying a bit more to volunteering time to a good cause can usually be tamed by just doing one small thing differently.
So, don’t wait any longer: Pick one tough NUT in your life and get crackin’.