Father Brendan’s Thursday Thoughts | OPINION, June 15, 2017

A YOUNG man, drinking at a bar reflecting on his life, was feeling bad that he wasn’t doing as much good in the world as he felt he could. As he sat there, he looked up to the heavens and began to pray under his breath. 

“Lord, I want to help make the world a better place. How can I do it? Oh Lord! Send me a sign,” he said to himself.

The very next second, an old man a couple of metres away at the bar, fell off his stool and landed flat on his face. 

The young man thought to himself “A drunk! I know what I’ll do. I’ll take him home to his family!”

“That will be the beginning of my new life of doing good!” 

So he stands the old man up, but the old man, half asleep and half compos mentis, slides straight back down onto the pub floor.

The young man says “Gee, your drunk old timer!”

So, he picks him up and slowly carries him outside. 

He leans the old man up against a wall and hails a taxi, but when he turns around he finds the old man has fallen over again.

He picks him up, puts him in the back of the taxi, gets the elderly man’s wallet and works out his address, and guides the driver to the old man’s house. 

After paying the fare the young man carries the old man to the front doorstep of the old man’s house and rings the doorbell. 

When the old man’s wife comes to the door, the young man greets her “Good evening ma’am. You will be very pleased to know that I have brought your husband home drunk from the pub!” 

The old woman looks at the young man with disgust and says “You idiot! Where’s his wheelchair?” I know, pretty lame.

Whether we are young or old, the time to do something “good”, anything “good”, or to start living a good or better life is always the same, and that time is always “now”.

What is being good? 

The concept of being “good” can be vague, but people who are “good” at anything, among other things, have mastered the art of a little something we call “timing”. 

Think of a good boxer. No matter what his other attributes, he has good timing. He knows when to block a punch and he’s knows exactly when to give one. 

Think of a good student. She knows when to study; she knows how to consistently pace herself throughout the semester and she knows the exact date of her assignments and exams.

Timing effects even comedy. Comic timing is "the use of rhythm, tempo, and pausing to enhance comedy and humour." But comic timing is a grey area I reckon. I once had a job where I had to start at 8.30am but only got paid from 9am. One morning I got to work late (maybe two mornings). 

Anyway, I get to work and my boss says "You should have been here at 8.30!" I gasped with a shocked look on my face "Why? What happened?" My boss didn't laugh, but I don't know what I got wrong: my comic rhythm, tempo or pausing?

And what emergency ward does not know the importance of timing? 

Let’s not say that timing is everything, but a lot of things would be nothing without it. 

I saw a sign at someone’s house recently “IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SIGN, THIS IS IT!”

The point is, everything is a sign.

That we woke up this morning was a sign of many things including that we still have good things to do in this world. 

What good things should I be doing? 

Don’t wait for the sign; you already know.

FATHER BRENDAN LEE