The Amazing Sens-O-Matic!
Supplies are limited!









Imagine...




...a device that could instantly put your life back on track.





Yes! It’s the Amazing
“Sens-o-Matic”!




This incredible, yet disarmingly simple device can detect when you are about to make a monumentally stupid mistake, and immediately set you straight.

Now, how much would you expect to pay for such a life-saving tool?

Well, in the stores you’d pay $2 or $3 dollars. But, if you act now through this amazing Internet offer, you won’t pay $3. You won’t pay $2.50. Not $2, not $1.95, not even a buck and-a-half.

No, this revolutionary device can be yours for just three easy payments of $39.95!

When you receive yours in the mail, you will find a beautifully hand-finished length of 2x4. Whenever you catch yourself in some muddle-headed notion, merely give yourself a good whack upside the head with your Sens-o-Matic, and instantly you will see the error of your ways. (For added effectiveness, hand the Sens-o-Matic to your spouse!)

I use mine every day.

Or, at least it seems I ought to...





(break)




I have finally realized, some 46 years into this experiment, that when it comes to the art of living, I haven’t got a clue.


The other night, Pepe disappeared.

It was past 8:30 and getting dark.

“Have you seen Pepe?” Dani asked me.

“No.”

“He was supposed to ride his bike over to his friend’s house, and then they were going to come back here so I could take them to the Y - and he isn’t back yet. Do you think they just rode on down to the Y by themselves?”

Pepe is only 9, and certainly shouldn’t be out riding his bike after dark. The Y is only a few blocks away, but it is also right on the river. It has been a rainy last couple of weeks, and the river is up dangerously high. Earlier that day it had come out that Pepe and his friend had been down by the dam, despite our specifically telling him he was never supposed to go down there.

“Why not?!” he whined just that afternoon, when we again warned him that was something he was never to do, “nothing will happen!”

(“Nothing will happen!” Those are famous words around here. Like people PLAN on having accidents.)

He just wouldn’t let it go, as if there was absolutely nothing to do around here EXCEPT go down by the river, and how this was going to be the most boring summer ever.

And now he was missing.

It was 8:30 by now, and I sent D down to the Y to see if he was there.

About 20 minutes later, D walked in the back door, “Is he here?” he asked.

“No.”

D had Pepe’s Y card, but no Pepe. Pepe had left his card at the front desk, so they had been there, but D said he had looked and looked, and couldn’t find Pepe and his friend anywhere.

By now it WAS dark - and panic set in.

Where could he be?! He was supposed to be at the Y, and he wasn’t there. And immediately I pictured two abandoned bikes on the river bank, and Pepe floating, face down, in the icy black water.

Dani and the girls got in the car and went looking for them. I sent the boys out on their bikes. Since I can’t see for beans anymore, all I could do was stand out on the front sidewalk, calling his name, gripped by that awful feeling that, as far as my experience as a parent goes so far, is the worst I can imagine. It’s that feeling you get when you turn around in a crowded place, and your little child is gone.

Ten minutes crept by. Twenty that seemed like an eternity. No Pepe. I was pacing up and down the sidewalk, calling out his name into the dark, and praying desperately for God to bring him back home. I couldn’t imagine life going on without our dimple-faced little boy.

And then, from behind, I heard some banging around in the house.

Sure enough, there were Pepe and his friend, as unconcerned as could be.

While we were being eaten alive by panic and fear - they were eating burgers and fries at McDonald’s.


This is where I should have pulled out my trusty Sens-o-Matic.


Yes, there was good reason to be concerned. You don’t just let your kid roam the town at night, especially across busy streets. But I seem to jump immediately to the worst-case scenario. It’s as if my first thought would be they were eaten by wolves, or struck by a flaming meteor, or carried away by aliens.

Sure, those things COULD happen. It’s just not very likely.

Pepe and his friend COULD have fallen into the river, but the chances were they didn’t. Nobody wants to drown, and that fear alone would keep them a safe distance away. And besides, how many kids have fallen into the river and drowned since I have lived here? Exactly.... none. Not that it couldn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen every day.

99 times out of a 100, the thing you fear the most never happens.

But that’s what I do. I immediately assume the 1 out of 100 is sure to happen.

Sure, an airliner COULD crash into our house in the middle of the night. Killer bees COULD build a hive in our backyard, I could step out the back door and get struck by a piece of falling space debris - it’s just not very likely. Why live my life in constant fear of what MIGHT happen? All I accomplish is robbing myself of the joy of all the good that has ALREADY happened.

Hand me my Sens-o-Matic, please.

Yes, catastrophes of one degree or another are going to happen. I hadn’t planned on getting cancer. But when they do, they require enough time and energy of their own. Why waste that time and energy on imaginary ones BEFORE they happen?

But wait. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus said, 2000 years ago? He said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries of its own.”



But Jesus had even better reason to say this, other than the fact that worry is a waste of time, and the chances of bad things happening one right after another are generally slim.

Jesus knew that God is watching over us.

There just is no need to worry. Our Father in heaven knows the things we need - and he will provide them. Whatever happens today or tomorrow, is in God’s hands. He has richly blessed us. How must it make him feel when, instead of simply rejoicing in God’s love and blessings each day - and serving him with gladness, I fill my life with worry? Especially when it is over things that I can do nothing about anyway. If the sun refused to shine, or the rain refused to fall, is there anything I could do about it?

But the sun DOES rise. The rain DOES come. And God blesses us beyond measure every day.

And when he does allow the trials of life to come along, there is a purpose to them. They aren’t willy-nilly, chance events. God allows them for his purposes, and - when the time comes! - he will see us through them. And his good and loving purposes will be accomplished.

Okay, hand me my Sens-o-Matic one more time.





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Originally written July, 2000

(Updated 2011)

2000 Paul Dallgas-Frey