Yesterday morning, I wrote at some length about the general feeling that life was profitless toil not only for me but for humanity in general . There were two layers of that day that led to my reflections on that subject that I neglected to mention. One of those layers involved the well-being of a young man I knew a little bit from several years ago when I lived in the Tampa area. When I wrote the entry, the news of his death had not yet reached me, but by the time I published the post my thoughts about his own all-too-brief life added to my own melancholy in thinking about the subject. The other layer, perhaps somewhat predictably, involved a brief conversation I had with a friend of mine who shares at least a little in the profitless toil of my life in various aspects. Earlier on the Sabbath she had spoken about her own need to take classes and the stress she was dealing with regarding financial aid, and shortly before the lights were turned off to tell us all to leave we spoke about our dream lives, a subject of considerable personal dissatisfaction .
Like Gaul, my sleep and rest last night was divided into three parts, which is usually an inauspicious thing. In pondering the course of this day, I recognize that it is a pretty good bet that in the presence of ambiguous information I will almost inevitably draw the wrong conclusion. As it happened, my adorable little kiddo had her court case this morning and I had two choices of time for the hearing, and I picked the wrong one, which gave me some to think and to wish that I had brought a book to read to make the time slightly more profitable than it would have been otherwise. I drove back and got a quick lunch and as I was washing up, behind me a lady who had not bothered to look at the signage opened the door to the wrong bathroom. She closed the door rather quickly, and seemed more than a bit embarrassed. As I was merely washing my hands I was not embarrassed myself. Being a person who has a great many awkward moments in life, I try not to make such moments more uncomfortable and unpleasant for others. Not all doors are meant to be opened, but with no harm done the door can quickly be shut once more.
This weekend was more than usually busy for me. There were two days of double services, which would be busy enough just to listen to all of those messages and travel between the three areas involved, going to Hood River and Portland on Sabbath and down to Salem for the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost yesterday. When you add to that the fact that I had three choir practices, three services of performing in the hymn ensemble, one time songleading, a total of four performances of special music, two of which I introduced, as well as two opening prayers, and a total of three meals between those two days, and one can imagine that it was a bit more exhausting than I would have preferred. As a fairly melancholy person, I am more than usually aware that the effort I require of myself is beyond my own energy reserves and requires some sort of divine aid. That which needs to be done is too much to do without some sort of help. Whether or not my life and its efforts are profitable enough probably depends on who one asks. Was the day profitable for those who enjoyed the music or for the little girl who tried to read an entire book to me towards the end of lunch? Probably. Was it profitable for me as I struggled to stay asleep for the nth night in a row? Not as much, unfortunately.
Perhaps fortunately for me and everywhere else, I am not the judge of how profitable a life is. That job belongs to someone else, someone who is far more merciful and understanding than I am. If the toil and effort of my existence, which tends to be fairly obvious to those around me, has not been particularly profitable at least as far as the quests of my own troubled existence, it seems to at least have been more beneficial to others. Hopefully it has served the purposes of our heavenly Father as well, as my own plans have seldom gone particularly or straightforwardly well. It may very well be that we spend our lives believing ourselves to have been engaged in profitless toil only to realize, much to our chagrin, that all of this time we have been measuring in the wrong currency, and being unnecessarily disappointed by our failure to measure up to our own wishes and expectations.
 See, for example: