Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Expectant in Bethlehem: Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless;
   give me life in your ways. 
  Psalm 119:37

I have an hour before dinner. Just enough time to run to the bookstore and buy that book for my sister-in-law. If I get it today, then it is just possible I can manage to assemble that particular package and get it mailed in time to arrive for Christmas. The book, and those beautiful candles I saw in the shop window next to the bookstore. These are the last items on my list.

“Yes, we have one copy of that book,” the young man informs me. Except it is nowhere to be found. Not on the shelf where it is supposed to be. Not on any shelf it might be. I regroup. I might be able to get it elsewhere, if I have time. I head down the street to get the candles. Only on closer inspection I see that they just won’t do. My hour is running out. My sense of urgency is rising. My brain begins to catalogue all the things I have yet to do.

I know something about the power of lists. Especially repeated ones. They create grooves and habits in our psyches. Organizational gurus tell us that writing a “to do” list gets our worries out of our minds and into an action plan. Except what about those things I don’t want in an action plan? Do I really need to make a list of my worries and keep repeating it? And what about making a litany out of my failures? How does that lead me on the path of God’s truth and love?

It doesn’t.

I think I will make a  “To Don’t” list. On it I will put all the things that distract me from the grace of God. And it’s not even going to be a real list. I am not going to write those distractions down. I am not going to give them that much space in my life or soul.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012