An old saying more or less defines my life, “What we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”
When I was younger, I assumed that the older I got, the smarter I would become. I have not achieved that at this point in my life. It gets so tiresome to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
I was reminded of this flaw in my personality several weeks ago when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I spent a little bit of vacation time at St. Augustine. Someone had given us tickets for several nights in a bed and breakfast.
We spent the whole week just enjoying ourselves. I should correct that though. I spent the whole week reading and meditating with my eyes closed. She spent most of her time visiting all the thrift stores in the area.
It only takes me five minutes to thoroughly examine the thrift store, while my wife takes two hours to go through bit-by-bit every aspect of that thrift store. Every thrift store in the area knows her by name at this point.
I am just as addicted to relaxation as my wife is addicted to thrift store shopping. I am not certain who suffers the worst addiction.
To be honest, she has gotten many wonderful deals at some of these thrift stores. But every once in a while I suffer this awful nightmare. I wake up sweating and breathing really hard. The nightmare is that we have opened up our own thrift store. No dream could be worse!
I never tell her of these nightmares because I do not want to plant any ideas in her head. I lean strictly away from that idea.
In spite of all of this, I still have failed to learn anything from history. After a long day of thrift shopping, we had a little bit of supper in our room. I assumed we were in for the evening. As we were finishing our casual supper, I said something that I now regret very much: “Boy, it sure would be nice to have one of those lap desks so I could use my computer while I’m sitting here in the bed.”
If there is anything I could ever take back in my life, this would have been one of them.
“I don’t know,” she said most enthusiastically, “but I’ll go and find out right…”
Before she could say the word “now,” she was out the door. The rest of the evening she was visiting thrift stores, while I sat afraid that she would actually find one and bring it back.
Four hours later, she returned and was very much excited. She had found something she had been looking for, for a very long time. It was a very eloquent teapot with six cups and saucers.
“Look what I found,” she said. “I’ve been looking for this and we can use it at our next lady’s tea.” According to her, this tea set matches the one she had back home.
I think she forgot why she went thrift shopping in the first place. Having learned something from history, I've made certain never to remind her about that desk.
I like what the wise old man in the Bible said, “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).
There is a time to “keep silence” and it is a wise man who knows when. That may be why people say that silence is golden.