Do what you promised to do…

…and it will usually work out well for you.

I’m not a Christian. But I did try it on for several years, studied the Bible closely, and found parts of it quite illuminating. One line in Psalm 15 always stuck with me:

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD;

He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things shall never be moved.

I was thinking about that this evening while driving home and congratulating myself for having done the right thing and – heh – gotten away with it. That business about “He swears to his own hurt and does not change” is a situation I’ve been flirting with for days now.

For most of this week I’ve been dreading the question I needed to ask D&L. Today I finished sawing up all the firewood I cut and hauled to their place. I can’t estimate how much cut firewood is in a pile, but it was a couple of mighty big piles. There had to be a couple of cords there, and they only use it to heat their workshop. It’s way more wood than they cut last year. So it seemed: A. Sufficient to their most profligate needs, and: B. A helluva good job of work for the money they offered me. If I stopped right there, I made far less than $10/hour and worked damned hard to get it. But…stopping right there wasn’t my understanding of the thing I’d promised to do. I’d promised to cut ALL the deadwood in their meadow, and then chop it up for firewood. I didn’t realize how much wood there was in that meadow.

Oh, I didn’t want to keep that promise. But I’ve got damned few customers for my labor at this point, and pissing one of them off made less business sense to me than losing my shirt on one deal. Besides, over the years they’ve been extremely good neighbors.

So after I’d raked up the mess from my cutting, and while I was servicing the chainsaw to put it away, D was making noises about how I was all done. Those were welcome noises, but I wanted to be sure we were on the same page. So I told him that while it made sense to me that I should be done, and that I certainly welcomed being done if I was, it wasn’t my understanding that I was done and I was prepared to continue if he wanted me to. He looked at me like I was crazy and pointed to the big pile of firewood. “Why would I want you to cut more than that?” he said. “You did a good job, and you’re done.”

So now I’m relieved, and got paid, and also get to feel all righteous about myself into the bargain. A good day.

Thus endeth today’s self-righteous sermon. Now I’m gonna take a shower and booze it up.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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One Response to Do what you promised to do…

  1. CorbinKale says:

    In the Army we had a similar saying. “Always do the right thing, and you’ll never go wrong.”

    Integrity is a gift you give to yourself.

To the stake with the heretic!