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Scripture: John 1:1, 14

Take It Further: To Schedule Time Doing Nothing and Laugh about It” By Ross Wilbanks

Nothing is a funny word. Even the beginning of the biblical story starts with some particles floating around, chaos— parse the language how you like, but it ain’t nothing. Try to think of nothing right now. It’s an impossible word.

Maybe that’s not true though. Have you ever played with a child? I mean, put everything down, got on the floor and played? How about when a three-year-old boy instructs you at every move with a no. Nothing else, just a no. You have an idea, he says, No, and keeps on playing, making noise. Every time you try to do something, he says, No. It can be incredibly tedious, but after some time a new trust forms; time resets. The boy’s no was an enforced nothing, but something clearly resulted from it. Ugh, three-year-old boys are impossible though.

Nothing can be a lovely intensifier when trying to make a point: She looks nothing like the others. Most of the time, nothing is a word that leads to something, reflecting something in action. The basic definition by dictionaries is, “not anything,” which is only linguistically helpful. Trying not to do anything always leads to something. It’s hard not to feel the buildup.

I’ve been healthy my whole life, and because of this I have often reflected on times of illness as a gift. Illness became an enforced no—do nothing. I lie in bed trying to do something—groan, complain of not sleeping, get excited being able to feel less pain, push effort—only to start over again. Only later do I realize the benefits of being out of commission. Afterward, everything is clearer and I feel so much better that it makes me question—Couldn’t I just schedule some time off?

The calendar is a series of little nothings waiting to be filled up. Enforcing rest requires all kinds of tricks to avoid the embarrassment of saying you’re doing nothing. You could say you are doing something by resting. I wonder if a majority of Americans would agree. What about various kinds of meditations? I guess I’m skeptical just trying to get all these exhausted ideas written out. I’m calling on Jesus to take the load off, and last night he gave me a dream.

I dreamed that during the Christmas season I signed up for an app that was supposed to help with all the shopping. It had a great layout of all the gifts and when I received them, everything felt complete. As I opened the first package, a jack-in-the-box hand threw a tiny pie right between my eyes … I can remember the taste too. But I kept opening packages, each with a jack-in-the-box style crank, and all kinds of disasters flew out like a cast of surreal pranks, I guess, or like a swarm of locusts singing show tunes. Everything was funny. I’m sure I was laughing away in my sleep because when I woke up finally, I felt a whole lot better.



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*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at
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