This morning, I’d scarcely been out of bed for an hour before I was shaking my head and saying, “It’s going to be one of those days.”
The good news: my most recent book, Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage, is now in print, and I’m excited about it. Pastors, if you’ve ever wanted to begin a ministry of premarital preparation but haven’t known where to start, this is for you. My colleague Jim Furrow and I have created a set of reproducible resources that you can customize to the couple and the way you want to work. I believe strongly in the ministry of preparing couples for marriage, love the work myself, and truly hope the book bears proper fruit.
So what’s the comedy of errors? It’s not in the book production itself. The folks at Abingdon Press have been a joy to work with–and indeed, it was their idea in the first place.
Nope. It’s me. I have a ritual that I started over 20 years ago: every time I have a book come out, I frame the cover and hang it on the wall, as a concrete way of celebrating and saying, “Done.” Being the–ahem—frugal person that I am, I do my own custom framing: mounting the cover, cutting the mat. I have the simple tools I need for the job, and usually, the work goes quickly and smoothly.
Not this time. I have absolutely no idea why, and wonder if a piece of my brain leaked out somewhere. To wit:
- Again, being frugal, I began with a leftover piece of mat from another project. I carefully measured the size of the window I needed to cut, and adjusted the razor in my mat cutter. Then I picked up the cutter in such a way as to jab the point right into my thumb.
- After I stopped the bleeding and bandaged the wound, I went back to work. But I had trouble keeping my straightedge, well, straight–and the cut went lopsided.
- I started over with another spare piece of mat. This time I went through every step slowly, methodically. With a sigh of relief, I finished the final cut and held the mat up to the mounted book cover. The window was an inch too wide.
- With no more leftover mat to work with, a scrounged up a nice linen-finish portfolio I could cannibalize for the project. Again, I measured and re-measured carefully. But the razor went astray on the final cut.
- No problem: the portfolio had two sides, so I went to cut the other side instead. This time, I actually managed cut the piece I needed without mishap. Almost done, right?
- I went to get my can of spray adhesive. But I picked up the wrong one–the one that’s meant for heavier duty applications, not paper. The nozzle was a bit clogged, so the adhesive squirted sideways, which would have been perfect had I wanted to attach something permanently to my left forearm.
- I managed to squirt enough glops of glue onto the back of the makeshift mat to hold it in place. This wasn’t the kind of adhesive that would let you reposition the work, so I had to get the placement right the first time. And I did. And managed to give myself a nice paper cut in the process.
There was going to be one more step, but I decided to quit while I was ahead. I figured two self-inflicted injuries was enough. And that’s not counting the injury to my pride.
It’s usually important to me to feel competent at what I do. This morning, I’ve decided to have a laugh at my moments of pure and inexplicable incompetence, knowing that it’s all part of the plan. Because it’s good to know that even if we sometimes find ourselves to be inept bumblers, God is still pleased to use us for his purposes.