“I don’t have problems paying attention. It’s just … Hey, look! There’s a squirrel!” coffee mug wisdom
There was a time when I could do things like deep clean a room or welcome spring into the garden in a single day, maybe a single afternoon if there was fine weather and adequate coffee.
That time expired the moment our first daughter was born. In her infancy, I remember spending three weeks painting a rather small shed. She would go down for a nap, I would snap on the baby monitor in her room, clip the portable part to my clothes, grab the paint brush from the freezer (where I stored it to avoid tedious washing), sprint to the shed, put the brush in the sun to thaw, prepare the 10 square feet of surface I was working on that day and paint. Until I heard her whimper or my watch registered an hour had past, whichever came first.
It’s a wonder the painting didn’t take three months.
Our daughters are old enough I should be back to a more linear stage of task completion, but I just can’t seem to go from A to Z anymore. Hence, the 462-step garden launch. OK, I’m exaggerating. Sort of. Given the combination of time fragmented by a wildly variable schedule and wacky weather, there’s been no choice but to make a detailed list of what needs to be done and then just do whatever whenever. A to Z? Nope. It’s more like A, M, R, D, S, Z C, A again…
But, it works. This weekend, a family effort knocked the list clean out of the ball park. We purchased. We planted. We seeded. “We” put heavy bags of mulch over one shoulder and carried them about. We trimmed and pruned and mowed and spoke kindly words to the coleus that was planted a wee bit early. We deciphered cryptic list items such as, “find grasshopper.” The family worked together, the garden was launched and I was reminded, for perhaps the 462nd time, that life doesn’t depend on A to Z.
I wondered if I had taken this life “strategy” too far, however, when I whipped a notebook and pen out of my purse last week. A friend is facing a multi-faceted trial that was so overwhelming I impulsively started writing down components of what was needed, mostly for prayer as this was a “to do” list only God could handle. She was surprised, but then a peace came over her face.
Did she or I need a written list? Maybe. Does God need a list? No. But writing everything down seemed to calm our spirits. It was a Hezekiah moment. That ancient king once received a threatening letter from an enemy nation. Overwhelmed and absent of any A-to-Z strategy to help himself or his people, Hezekiah simply took the letter into the temple in Jerusalem and laid it on the altar. God saw, Jerusalem was saved and Hezekiah learned that it didn’t all depend on him.
So, deep breath. That is on my list today. A, X, R, E. Whatever. Life doesn’t depend on A to Z. Or, me. And, that’s a good thing, because … Hey, look! There’s that crazy grasshopper!