It seemed like a good idea at the time

At the moment I’m revising my fantasy novel Vengeance Will Come where the protagonist’s name is Danyel. At the same time I’m reading from the biblical book of Daniel and journalling my thoughts. You can imagine how many times I have to cross the wrong spelling out.

This morning I was reflecting on this passage:

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel, Chapter 9v3).

In my journal I wrote:

Daniel gave himself over to asking for repentance. He invested time and effort, sacrificially. He inconvenienced himself and made himself uncomfortable. He was dedicated at seeking repentance.

When I wrote “he inconvenienced himself” it triggered a memory from my childhood…

At church the youth group were having a Friday night were the young people were told to dress ‘as if going to a funeral’. An hour or so before I needed to leave I had the sudden idea of going dressed in a biblical-style grieving outfit. That is, wearing sackcloth. At the time I thought it would be both clever and funny.

I can’t remember how receptive my parents were to the idea, but they ended up indulging me. Dad found a sack in the shed which probably held potatoes in an earlier life. Mum stitched me into my sackcloth outfit with string. (Underneath I wore my old jeans and a flannelette checked-shirt to protect my skin from the abrasive, and inevitably dirty, heshen sack). But there I was: smelling like a sack, looking like a sack and eminently proud of my own genius.

I’m a little foggy on the details but I think my mum drove me to church. We pulled up at the front of the church as my peers entered the church wearing suits. Suddenly my genius idea looked more like a terrible idea pretending to be a good idea.

Darn my ill-channeled creative mind. What had I done? I can’t go in looking like a sack! I was mortified that such a foolish idea had taken me. I probably pleaded with my mum to help rip me out of my sack; never mind all of her last-minute, hard work to stitch me in.

So then I attended a funeral (that as it happened was actually a party; Jesus is alive, after all). Everyone else was dressed up to the nines, and I was wearing my old clothes. At least I was sans-sack. I remember the youth pastor asking about my clothes… I think I made a dismissive comment without explaining it.

Sometimes we think a certain plan will deliver a certain result, or we think we want something, only to discovery we were wrong.

Feel brave? Share your ‘it seemed like a good idea’ story in the comments. Come on, it seems like a good idea, doesn’t it… 🙂


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