Scrap the plan

Four o'clock in the afternoon often comes around, and I look at my to-do list for the day and realize I have yet to earn the privilege of crossing something off. Before cancer, before Amelia's encephalitis even, I hurriedly got to work - shooing the kids up to watch a cartoon or outside to fend for themselves for an hour so I could attend to the housework, schoolwork, or ministry that had been neglected all day.

And then my whole life turned upside down. In those long hours spent apart from family each time I have a treatment or scan, in the timeless solitude of the hospital room tending Amelia and longing for home, a new reality emerged. I never once regretted the undone chores on my to-do list. But I did regret all the small lost opportunities to nurture, build relationship, simply be with these changelings that are my children.
So what do I do, these days, when I face the to-do list never embarked upon? I crumple it up, toss it in the garbage, and grab a new sheet of paper. Today, I scrapped one that said:
  • Call Sara F re: garage sale
  • Lippincott writing
  • Produce podcast for Kelechi's class
  • Meet with parents re: IWU job
  • IRB revision
On the fresh sheet of paper, I wrote another list - the one I actually worked on today. The path that God pointed to, instead of the plan chosen by my own 3-pound brain.
  • Plan summer school with the girls
  • Cuddle Caleb for ___ hours (fill in the blank)
  • Read at least 5 board books aloud - at least twice through each book
  • Make a picnic lunch
  • Fill the pool
  • Water plants
  • Mop the kitchen floor two times
  • Mop the dog corner once
  • Wash swim suits - twice
  • Play space ship on the porch with the chairs removed from the kitchen
  • Call someone to set up a playdate for Rosy
As a Type A personality, God has definitely used the trauma of life to cleave me away from Plan A and ingrain the perspective that it is the busy application of my talents that He desires - not the busy application of my talents only in certain endeavors. He does not care a wit about my list, but He does care if I stick to the list to the exclusion of what He calls me to do each day. I never once dreamed that cancer and encephalitis would be the capstone lesson in a lifetime of learning flexibility.

Join me, perhaps? I start one list in the morning, titled "To Do". I write a second list in the evening, to prevent depression when I look at my still-to-be-done list from that morning. I title it a "Done" list. Sometimes keeping track of what you have actually accomplished allows you to review your day from an entirely different perspective.

Let's try something new! If you keep a blog or other online journal, link back to this post with your own thoughts about priorities, list-keeping, and expectations for your days. Just click on the link below, and add your blog information and your photo. The instructions are very easy - and it would be fun to hear your thoughts.