Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Choosing What Is Important

The list of tasks seems to only grow, with more added and fewer completed.

I headed to the garden Friday late morning, after the sun was already hot because too many tasks kept my morning full. As I reached for the warm red tomatoes, filling two and a half buckets of beautiful and flavorful fruit from the loaded vines, I was also within reach of crab grass that had gone to seed. Six feet away were weeds taller than I am. The corn needed water. The rhubarb was eaten down to just the ribs by some unknown insect. I refused to look at the pole beans to see if there were any to pick. The summer savory bloomed before I found time to pick the sprigs needed to season green bean soup this winter. And that was just the garden.

There is no point in picking the tomatoes if I don't take care of them, so the other tasks would have to wait until that was done.

My time is full.

My closets are full.

My house is full.

Full of stuff and people who need my time.

Stuff usually gets placed on the back burner so that people can take precedent, but eventually stuff can demand a response. There has to be room in the kitchen to cook. There have to be clean clothes to wear. And my stress level needs to be managed by some level of order in at least the main rooms of the house.

If I lived in a tiny house, what would I keep?

If I lived in a smaller life, what would I do?

Yesterday in Sunday School one verse we read was from II Corinthians 6:1 “I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.”

I sometimes tire of blog posts that sound like me from other people who also struggle with unreasonable lists and guilt and shame about the things it was not possible to accomplish. There is strength in being understood, in resonating with the life of another. But today, I want to be able to write about finding the thing that was important to do, and doing it.

On Friday I put those tomatoes into the refrigerator because my 7th grade friend came over for the evening. He brought his dog and we compared notes on dog breeds and how good it is to love a pet. We made mistakes in how we introduced our dogs to each other and then we fixed those mistakes. We sat outside. I threw the ball for Harvey (my Labradoodle) several times, and he brought it back and placed it gently right into my hand. Then I threw it one more time and Harvey picked it up and ran past me, laying the ball at the feet of my 7th grade friend. Good choice. My friend has a much better throwing arm than I do.

When Harvey tired of chasing the ball we walked around the house some more, and my friend discovered four praying mantises in my flower bed, a fat green four inch hornworm caterpillar on the grape tomato vine in front of the house and a huge black and yellow garden spider sitting on a web next to my planters. Had he not noticed these things, I also would not have noticed these things.

We talked about 7th grade and new school buildings and new teachers. I wished I could go to his favorite class on Global Awareness to learn what he is learning. We picked a movie together on Netflix, one he had seen and recommended because it had a good message about bullying. We sat on the sofa with his dog sprawled across our laps and enjoyed the warm weight of the dog against us as we watched the movie. We talked about bullying, about how it still happens, and what he sacrifices in order to avoid it when he can. We hung out as friends, him at thirteen and me at fifty-six.

That evening felt like a time of God's favor, a glimpse of salvation.

May I put my life in the kind of order that makes more such encounters possible.