Reinventing the Wheel

Once upon a time, I worked with a guy who told me, “If you want something done right away, give the job to a lazy man.” It made me chuckle, but I instantly saw the wisdom in it.

A lazy man (or woman) doesn’t want to take a lot of extra time to evaluate all the permutations of how to accomplish a particular task. He (or she) will find the easiest, straightest path to get the job done so they can go back to being lazy. Of course, my friend said this with his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek, but there’s a nugget of truth in it that I want to share with you today.

When confronted with a problem, very often the best approach is to assume that you’re not the first person to have encountered it. Contrary to what we tell ourselves all the time, the things we run up against in life are not unique. 99 times out of 100, somebody else figured it out already. All we need to do, is find out what they did in the similar situation. Realizing that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, means you’re half-way home!

This is also true in the spiritual life. Throughout our pilgrimage on earth, we get lost, hurt, turned around, become confused, and worse. But instead of casting about among the thousand different solutions the world presents to us, it is important to remember that there are others that have gone before us. The saints, the fathers and mothers of the Church, walked along this path and made it safely home. They are not gods. They are men and women just like us. Just like us they had their own faults and failures, but refused to give in or stop trying. They faced what we face every day and worse.

When problems come–and they will–the saints are our role models. They are our elder brothers and sisters and we can emulate them in our own lives. They in turn will sympathize with us, intercede for us, and cheer us on.