By Curtis Shelburne: Religion columnist
Not long ago my wife and I were away for a couple of days at a hotel in the Dallas area for a training seminar. For almost 20 years, I was the one attending the classes and she was the spouse along for the ride. For a number of years now, the shoe has been on the other foot.
I’m not a rocket scientist, so it may have taken me 10 minutes to figure out that the job description of “the spouse” on such trips is by far the better part, even if, as is usually the case, the spouse under my hat ends up taking work along on the trip. (Occasionally, I’m envious of folks whose companies makes widgets and keep on making widgets whether they’re on site or not.) I definitely relax some, but I usually end up writing or editing or sermonizing or …
But I also try to do some work that I really enjoy and should do a lot more of at home: reading. It’s nice to be able to read in the room, or at a “by yourself” breakfast or lunch, or, as was the case on one afternoon in Dallas, by the pool.
It was a pretty day, and I had the pool pretty much to myself. I didn’t want in it; I just wanted by it. And by it is where I sat at a table under the shade as I read a book. The whole thing. No real interruptions. Amazing.
I was also near the “spa,” the hot tub. I hadn’t been reading long until I happened to look up and read something else—the lawyer litter on a sign near the hot tub.
I’ll do the folks who own the hotel the honor of assuming that they’d really not like for a guest to drown, or stroke out, or be boiled by their hot tub. But I guarantee you what they’d REALLY not like is to be sued by someone succumbing to one of the above-mentioned calamities. Add in a few city codes and you have ample reason for them to post the sign by the tank.
“Not recommended for pregnant women, older people, diabetics, people recovering from illness or with a heart condition.” No problem there. I’m young and vigorous.
“Children under 14 are prohibited.” I’m not THAT young.
“Do not use spa alone.” Whatever.
“Use while consuming or under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, drugs or medicines is prohibited.” Okey dokey.
Then came one I had to read several times: “Prolonged use of the spa is not prohibited.” Hmm.
On the basis of that particular lawyer dropping, as long as I was a registered hotel guest, I guess I could stay in the hot tub over spring break and Easter and have meals brought to tub-side?
I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean what they’d engraved in plastic. But I made a note to ask my wife if she’d learned anything regarding sign regulations.
On the other hand, I’m more than sure that God did indeed mean the rules he once carved into tables of stone. “Prolonged” experience has shown that we, his children, spend most of our time breaking them.
Thank God that, seeing our sad plight, he didn’t send a legal expert. He sent a Savior.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org