I have been planning on writing this ‘Mañana’ article for several months, but I never got around to it. Manana is a Spanish word for ‘tomorrow’. There is an old saying “Why do today what you can put off ‘till tomorrow?” Some have coined the expression “mañana disease”, which means to procrastinate and put things off until tomorrow. The term ‘procrastinate’ is literally Latin “for tomorrow (crastinus)”.
Once a year in January, many of us take time to make New Year’s Resolutions. Many of us vow to finish certain important tasks that we have been putting off. For some of us, it may be finding a new job, getting married, having a child, buying a house, earning a University degree, or restoring a broken relationship.
King Solomon 3,000 years ago had this advice for people struggling with the mañana disease: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6)
Solomon challenges each of us to not let fear hold us back: “The sluggard says ‘there is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming in the streets.’ (Proverbs 26:13)
Solomon encourages us to not be arrogant and unteachable: “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.” (Proverbs 26:16). Solomon cautions us not to become addicted to our pillows: “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.” (Proverbs 26:14). The ancient word for procrastination is sloth, one of the seven deadly sins. Solomon humorously points out that sloth can become so addictive that nothing gets done: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” (Proverbs 26:15).
Why do we procrastinate? I procrastinated for years in writing my second book “Battle for the Soul of Canada.”* Sometimes conquering procrastination seems like too much stress, too much work. I believe that the rise of the ‘living together’ phenomenon in our culture has a lot to do with marital procrastination, especially for men. The average age for men to be married is now 34; for women, it is 31. Many people are waiting for the perfect time to tie the knot, the perfect financial situation, perfect educational situation, perfect housing situation, perfect emotional connectedness. Perfectionism is at the core of the mañana disease. Our grandparents rarely experienced perfect lives. Somehow they were able to get married and get on with their lives.
For many men, the concept of having children is even more threatening than being married. The imagined weight of responsibility can be overwhelming. It is interesting that in the most affluent parts of the world, we are having fewer children and at a much later stage of life. The biological clock is on a collision course with the mañana disease. The irony of Quebec is that its fear of cultural extinction is now becoming a biological reality. Quebec, which had the highest birthrate, now has the lowest birthrate in North America. Mañana has real consequences.
I love the poster I saw recently of a huge polar bear lying prone on an iceberg. The caption goes: “When I get the feeling to do something, I lie down until the feeling goes away.” Charles Dickens in his famous novel David Copperfield wisely observed: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” I have found that later often means never. Life moves on. People die. People move away. Nothing on this earth is permanent.
We all mean very well in our hearts. Sometimes we fail to show it to our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings. It is so easy to put off saying “I’m sorry. I was wrong. How can I make it up to you? I’ll try not to do that again. Will you please forgive me”. It is so easy to let relationships die because of the mañana disease.
When I first came to St. Simon’s North Vancouver, I said to our congregation: “If I haven’t offended you yet, you don’t know me well enough.” They all laughed at the time, but later found out that I was dead serious. All of us have the ability to offend others. We even have the ability to offend ourselves. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Women especially are often the hardest on themselves, turning their anger inward. Perhaps conquering the mañana disease may involve looking yourself in the mirror, and with God’s help, forgiving yourself. Many people, who have been through a painful divorce or an abortion, secretly condemn themselves for years. God knows and God forgives, if we will only open our hearts to Him. Say no to the mañana disease.
In this New Year, my challenge for those reading this article to seize the day, redeem the time, forgive those who need forgiving, and get on with our life both now and for eternity. Are you ready yet to meet your Maker?
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?
Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.
If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or kindle.
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.
– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.