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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal


Decently and In Order

Paul Schneidmill

I came home after work one day and was told by my Mom, that my wife had called from her office, to say that a man would be coming over to take some of the furniture owned by her parents, out of our basement. My Mom is our children's sitter from Tuesday through Friday, their "nanny", if you will (they even call her "Nana". Mom comes to stay with us and care for P.J. and Angela every week, except for two weeks in June when she goes to Tennessee, to recuperate from dealing with my two little rambunctious ranger buddies,...of course Mom says she goes for the purpose of attending her churches' General Assembly (yeah, right...I've send how fast she moves out to the bus stop on Friday when I relieve her of duty).

Shortly after receiving the news she had so faithfully preserved and delivered, Brother Charlie, a member of our church, pulled his truck into the driveway and announced he was here to collect the furniture. We talked awhile as he waited for Debbie's Dad to arrive and identify which items were to be taken. I began to look at the mail and so forth, you know, those things you do when you get home from work, and then shortly thereafter, my wife and her Dad arrived. The three of them went down to the basement to gather the pieces of furniture that were leaving. (I would've made four, but somebody had to look at that mail!) We've lived in our home eight years, but it seems like Debbie's parent's furniture began occupying the basement, right after the mortar for the foundation dried.

My son P.J. had been outside playing and as the evening shadows were descending, I decided it was time for him to come in. I went to the basement to tell Debbie that Angela and I were going to go and get P.J. The three movers were conferring, devising logistical strategy.

"We can't get all of this in Charlie's truck", Dad said. "We can put the rest in Paul's car", Debbie said. "The station wagon"? Dad asked. Remember I'm Paul. I watched and listened as my car was being recruited for a mission in my presence, without my consent. You husbands reading this, that have "been there", will understand why I'm considering writing a book about our family life, with myself in the third person form.

My car was loaded up and my little sweetie and I went to collect her brother from whatever current and no doubt, ongoing adventure, he was engaged in. Upon returning, I volunteered to drive what I had often believed was "my car" to wherever Dad needed to take the furniture (I knew it wasn't going to his home because there wasn't enough room in his present abode, ... that's why it had been in my basement since the Day of Pentecost). Twenty minutes into the journey behind Charlie's truck, I realized that I had no idea where we were going. As a private in the Army, I remember being told by various Squad Leaders, "We're going on a movement to contact patrol and we'll be traveling in this direction (that would be indicated by a hand, fingers extended and joined, pointing somewhere). Follow the man to your front and maintain a five meter interval". When I became the Squad Leader, I had learned to let every man in the squad know the mission. Know where we're going, how to get there, what to expect along the way and on the objective, and most importantly, what to do if separated (that happens, you know) from the squad.

So, after twenty minutes, I pulled that car I was driving in front of Charlie's truck, stopped on the shoulder of the highway (they stopped behind me) and walked to their passenger side and asked Dad where we were going. "Just follow us", Dad said. "What's the plan"? I asked. "Just follow us", Dad repeated. I heard a phrase that says, "You don't need to know where you're going if you know who you're following". Profound, but debatable. You need to know where you're going with some folk you are following. Dad had the only set of directions scribbled on a piece of paper and we were traveling at night. Combine that with the fact that he was giving Charlie some last second directions on the fly, which resulted in a series of highly erratic lane changes and light jumps, that somewhere in a densely populated commercial and residential area with a steady flow of traffic, we got separated. Like a caisson horse that has been separated from the funeral procession team, I went back to the "barn".

1 Corinthians 14:40 says, "Let all things be done decently and in order". Jesus modeled this in all He said and did. He clearly outlined His purpose and plan for us, to all who would then, and to all who will now, listen to and keep His life giving, health restoring Word (Proverbs 4:20-22). Jesus left nothing to speculation. He knew how to lead that original twelve-man squad. If you lead now, or ever have the privilege to do so, like a football quarterback in the huddle before a play, let all who will be participating, know the game plan. Ask your leaders where they're going, if you're going to follow them. Let folk know where you're going, if they're going to follow you. Make sure the activities you involve yourself in and support, are clearly communicated and explained to you. Operate on the "Decently And In Order" principle, regarding all that you do,...especially if it includes the use of my car.

Copyright © Paul Schneidmill