Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Today is Enough

I've had this thing about time in recent years. I hardly ever really made use of a daily planner before seminary. I was vaguely aware of dates before that, but there wasn't a whole lot of organization, and it got me in trouble a few times.

In seminary I started using the UCC desk calendars. For me, seeing the entire month laid out really helps. I even wrote in when all my major assignments were due. And the UCC calendar lists the lectionary! Woohoo! Awesome! I became a functional, date-aware person!

Nowadays I'm a bit of a slave to the whole scheduling thing. It's almost unholy, really. I look at the month, and I think about how life will be a little less stressful or a little more enjoyable once I get past this meeting, or this youth event, or this week, or this month's lectionary, or this season, or...

This time of year is worse, I think. I always look forward to fall, trying to reason that once I get through summer, life will be more enjoyable. Now once we get into the Halloween season...once the fall colors really start to pop...once November rolls around...once I get to start planning Advent...and on it may go until, oh crap, it's January. Well, once Lent rolls around...

Life rarely gets much better. Another day passes and I realize that I don't feel much different. This is why I think people who get really excited about New Year's are full of it.

My schedule is a god that does not satisfy. It promises satisfaction, but always after a while longer.

Lest my readers think that I'm a hopeless case, I've been enjoying each and every moment of this season. I walk out into the crisp autumn air and savor the slight chill; the feel of long sleeves. I take in the view of the leaves changing without wishing for them to be brighter or less green. I'm determined to anticipate Halloween without wishing for it to be here already.

I actually worry about my calendar less. I don't obsess over things that are weeks away nearly as much as I used to. What good would that do? How would doing that help me appreciate Coffeewife, treasure time with Coffeeson, be present with a church member who needs me to pay attention, or just love the moment that I'm in?

What if there was some way for Type A personalities to still be Type A at their jobs or whatever really (like, really, truly) necessitates being Type A, but then Type B for life in general?

Like the great sage Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

What? You don't consider him a great sage? Okay, how about a guy named Jesus: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34, NIV)

No more calendar slavery for me. Okay, at least a lot less calendar slavery for me. Baby steps is the best method. This sort of thing is hard to do. I've actually been working on it for the past two years or so.

What really brought the necessity of this idea to the forefront was a realization that I had during sabbatical. Here I was with a gift of five weeks of rest and renewal; I tried to shoehorn in as much as I could, but thankfully realized that that was exactly the opposite of rest and renewal. I wanted to seize the day without considering the possibility that for once I should let the day seize me. For once, I should stop and look around. For once, I shouldn't worry about tomorrow, because today is enough.

This really is a spiritual discipline, I think. It takes a lot of inward reflection and patience to ask things like, why am I in such a rush? How do I think barreling through this day is going to be fulfilling? What do I really want to happen by scheduling so much this week? How will my life be enriched by adding more stuff to the calendar? Why do I think the next thing will be better than the thing I'm doing right now?

I'm not sure many of us are willing to ask ourselves questions like that. I'm still not completely comfortable with them myself. Sure, I've made progress, but I'm still a guy on the go. To an extent, I have to be. The trick is shutting it off once I don't.

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