I think the world can be divided into two types of people:
1. list people
2. non-list people
(Do you see what I just did there?)
I wish I could say I’m one of those free spirits who lives spontaneously and serendipitously, bopping from one adventure to the next. But the truth is, I prefer planned spontaneity. I like the kind of serendipities I can put on my calendar. I enjoy adventures I can pack a bag for.
And yep, I like to make lists. (Confession: I’ve been known to add things I’ve already done to my to-do list, just so I could cross them out.)
My list-ish lifestyle worked fairly well for a large chunk of my life. But now that I have a toddler (aka a streaking boy-comet), the lists aren’t working out the way they used to. I keep making lists; the problem is that they’re now long enough to trip over, and not a thing gets crossed off. It’s not so much that I get interrupted from my lists on occasion; it’s that interruptions are now the default status.
At two, Graham is blissfully unaware of to-do lists. But if he had one, it would probably go something like this:
1. Pick up sticks.
2. Play with toy trucks.
3. Read books.
4. Eat snacks.
God knew how much I needed this little person in my life for oh-so-many reasons. One of them is his blatant disregard for efficiency.
“Mama play trucks,” he says.
“Mama read book.”
“Mama come too!”
As we walk around the neighborhood at a snail’s pace, stopping to pick up every leaf and rock on the way, I look at the trees that line the street—a corridor of gold and red and burnt orange. I try to memorize the way the sugar maples glow against the October-blue sky. It is so beautiful it hurts. But I’ve seen enough autumns to know it won’t last. One gusty November storm will be enough to disrobe every deciduous tree in sight.
Why is it, I wonder, that the most beautiful things are also the ones that are gone in a blink?
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.Dietrich Bonhoeffer
And so I put away my to-do list. I zoom tiny construction vehicles around the living room. I read the book about the blue truck until I have it memorized. I pick up 17 sticks on the way home. I share soggy crackers.
My list will be there when I get back. But this darling interruption? It turns out he’s not an interruption after all. He’s the one item on my to-do list I never want to cross off.
The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day.C. S. Lewis