With the school year over, my To-Do List looks a little different:
1. Wake up to daylight.
2. Have a second cup of coffee. Finish the coffee while it is still hot.
3. Pee whenever I want to.
5. Repeat item 3.
6. Be outside.
7. Eat when I am actually hungry.
8. Think about things.
9.Drink more coffee later with ice cubes because it is a choice, not because it is what sits before me from morning.
I am pleased to report that on Day 3, I am wildly successful in completing this To-Do List. Not that it has been easy. Take item 4, for example. Whoever decided that everyone should drink 64 ounces of water a day must also have invented water-boarding as a form of torture. I do love my chilled water (infused with natural flavors), but by ounce 48 I’m drowning. However, I have flushed 2 lbs out of my body, so I will Keep Hydrating and Carry On.
The real struggle is with my addiction to To-Do Lists. I have other Lists for this summer.
- All the things I need to do to be better prepared for the next school year. (As though,after 33 years in the classroom,I am unprepared. Still…)
- All the things I need to do around the house because it fell into near total chaos during the school year. Only the bi-weekly sprint to tidy before the cleaning ladies arrived saved us from total disaster.
- All the things I need to do to be the perfectly healthy individual that everyone else I know is. Or at least so I can visit the doctor for a checkup and not cringe.
- All the people I am going to invite over because I don’t have the overstimulation of the work week as an excuse and because introverts love to spend their vacation hosting events. (FYI, for an introvert, hosting more than 2 people is an event. So if I invite just two of you over, consider than an act of love. More than two, I am sacrificing myself on your behalf.)
- All the summery fun things I need to do to feel like I had a vacation.
So, yeah, the list of Lists is fraught with opportunities for failure. There is no way to do this. And each of these Lists comes with Sub-Lists. And yet I need the Lists or I will do nothing. It’s like my WeekSheet of lesson plans. I may not get everything done by Friday, but I come a whole lot closer if I work to the plan.
A missionary to Cameroon shared at church last Sunday his struggle with being back in the States for a year. The Africans have a saying, “Westerners have clocks; Africans have time.” It is hard to shift from one timeframe to another. That really resonated with my launch into summer. I have a “need” To Do while simultaneously desiring a break from the tyranny of doing. I long to discern the difference between maximizing my minutes and fully living in time. I long for a compromise between the list the top of this page and the List of Lists lurking beneath it.
For the moment, my compromise is looking like this:
- Look at each day as a day of possibilities. What can I do as opposed to what ought I to do? (Being the first-born that I inescapably am, my “can-I’s” will surely contain enought “oughts” to keep me from sliding into total slothful irresponsibility.)
- Follow the nudges of the Holy Spirit and be open to divine appointments.
And for the immediate moment, I am behind on my water intake and I have to go to the bathroom.