That One Big Thing
So, I sit here with a stack of errands and miscellaneous to-do items that could stretch from here to West Mifflin if I let it. They’re all things that need to be done eventually: doing a load of laundry, cleaning the upstairs bathroom, picking up some groceries, finishing the corrections on a book I’m typesetting (for someone else—not my book), unpacking more boxes (just so I can find my favorite pair of shoes, the digital thermometer, and a missing purple pillowcase … and no, those three aren’t related), watching back episodes of Dark Shadows…. You know, the stuff that makes up any normal person’s day.
And yet, with so many of my heavy-commitment events now gone for the year, I know it’s time to dash through these mundane tasks and start carving out the writing time … and guarding it. I’ve become convinced that I can no longer feel guilty about spending time each day writing, just because I like it a little too much. Perhaps I like it for a reason. Perhaps I like writing because it is my gift and I should be writing. Perhaps (and run with me yet one more step, but watch out for that twig or you’ll trip) it would actually be wrong to engage only in everyday tasks and therefore neglect the one unique thing I may have been put here to do.
Yeah, I know: What’s a humor writer doing sounding like there’s some great force of destiny pushing her to write about her lawn mower, her waterbed, her adorably strange husband, and several bats who’ve gotten loose in her house this summer?
But honestly, work with me on this one. Long before I was a wife or a mother, I wanted to be a writer. I was eleven when it really hit me. By then I already owned a typewriter (and what kind of ten-year-old asks for a typewriter for her birthday except one who is going to be a writer or a kidnapper?). Now I just needed the momentum.
I wrote a lot through my teen years, and then suddenly stopped when I got married a tad too young and had to face The Real World of putting food on the table, raising children on the world’s smallest income, and shoving my needs and dreams to the back burner… heck, shoving them entirely off the stove and onto the floor. (And yes, then I’d clean up the mess.)
So, if I sit around now, in my early fifties—having lived several lifetimes of experience, pain, anguish, and joy—and I choose to spend too much of my time keeping up with things that can essentially manage themselves with a lot less effort than I give them (work smarter, Linda, not harder), then I am wasting the time God’s given me. I’m procrastinating on the One Big Thing I was put here to do—because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t washing my husband’s dirty socks or cleaning the vacuum cleaner filter for the umpteenth time, even though those things fulfill my soul every time I do them.
Jesus’ parable of the talents has been poking at me lately, and I really hate being poked. Especially by Jesus, because He’s really good at everything. Being poked hurts, and I bruise easily.
So, now that my personal and professional schedules have both eased to the point where I can rearrange my priorities each day, it’s time to buckle down, get some books out there, and take the world by storm. (Well, if not by storm, then at least a really nasty breeze and some drizzle.)
Who’s with me?