WIT and WISDOM by Adam Harbinson

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There’s a story told about a builder who, as he approached his twilight years, decided to build himself a retirement home on the shores of a Fermanagh lake.

He designed it meticulously and paid particular attention to the gardens. He created beautifully manicured lawns, shrubberies, soft fruit trees, a kitchen garden, a vegetable plot and a sweeping drive to take full advantage of them all as he approached his new home.

However, after less than a decade he tired of it all, and preferring the simplicity of something smaller he put it on the market. A retired senior civil servant bought it and settled into his new surroundings quickly and easily. He and his wife took leisurely walks on long summer evenings; these were his halcyon days, until one day as he sat in his study looking out over the Fermanagh countryside he noticed for the first time, a manhole cover, right in the middle of his otherwise perfect lawn. His peace was shattered, he could see nothing but the manhole cover. It seemed that all the beauty surrounding it was corrupted by its presence. He tried concealing it, he even painted it green, but he knew it was there and his halcyon days were over.

Then one day on one of his rare visits to Enniskillen town he happened to bump into Bob the Builder. His frustration knew no bounds and he approached the man.

‘Why on earth did you put a manhole right in the middle of my lawn?’ he moaned. The builder was confused since he didn’t recognise his assailant at first, but the conversation continued in a fairly civilised form and the builder agreed to visit his old home, because he could not remember where he had run drains and sewers and was sure he would not normally defile a lawn in such a way.

And so in due course he stood with his new friend, and he scratched his head and stroked his chin thoughtfully as he walked around the offending object several times, until at length he reached into his pocket, pulled out a little ‘T’ shaped implement and lifted the green manhole cover... and beneath it was a patch of brown earth. That manhole cover had disturbed the home-owner’s sleep, caused immeasurable annoyance, frustration, even anger, but all the while there was no substance to it.

How we too worry and fret about so many of life’s issues which when addressed never did pose a credible threat to our well-being. I think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said, ‘So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’