It’s not just the thought that counts…

There are times when we have the best of intentions and life jumps up and gets in the way. A flat tire.  A sick child.  An unexpected phone call that throws everything else you have planned out the window.

And then there are the times when we have the best of intentions and we simply don’t do what-ever it was.  For no good reason.  Maybe for no reason at all.  We simply don’t do it.  A small niggling feeling that there is something else that needs our attention; an inherent laziness that saps the will to do.  And we sigh and say to ourselves, “well….it’s the thought that counts.”

Sometimes that is true.  Most of the time?  Not so much.

The thought that I wish there was less suffering in the world doesn’t count if I do nothing to ease suffering around me.  The thought that people “ought” to be more considerate is as helpful as thinking that I “ought” to exercise while I sit on in my lazy chair.  This is pretending that I actually own a lazy chair.  So the real analogy is my sitting out on the deck on a clear and beautiful day and looking at the garden and thinking that I really should do some weeding.  The weeds don’t magically pull themselves.

Thinking that I “ought” to call my parents more often is just that … a thought.  It doesn’t actually do much good all on its lonesome.  I can wish I saw a friend more often … but if I only wish and don’t do something as simple as tell her then what good is it?

One place I know of where just the thought can actually count is when our thought is “stop.”  The simple act of thinking “stop” actually does add one millisecond to our natural forward thrust through life.  And sometimes a millisecond is all it takes to change our trajectory from disaster to less-possible disaster.  And less-possible disaster is not a bad thing, given the choices.

I should know.  I was about to write a whole lot more.  And then I said to myself, “stop.”