Life is not a check off list

May 31, 2008 | 1 comment

When my wife and I talked about what we’d do while in NYC for two days over Memorial Day weekend, it was tempting to lay out an itinerary of places we wanted to see, and then hoof it around from one place to the other until we worked our way down the desired list.

But we also wanted to enjoy our time together and not be hurried by a jammed schedule of things to do. So we decided that our goal was not to “do things,” but to enjoy each other’s company and let the spirit move us as it willed.

So we made a list of sights we’d like to see, but set no schedule as to when or how.

You must understand that letting go of a schedule is a major accomplishment for me. I’ve always been strong on order and planning out things ahead of time to avoid mishaps. But I’m also learning that there is a higher order already in place that I can trust to appear in a timely way. I don’t have to know ahead of time what the Big Plan is except to know there is one and it’s very good–a scheme much better than I could ever figure out myself.

So, I put Evan’s planning aside, and trusted God’s planning.

Kathy was happy to agree!

Saturday morning, we decided to walk through Central Park and eventually end up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As we strolled through the park at a leisurely pace watching the young children play, the ducks swimming in the ponds, the musicians playing their instruments, boats floating in the boat pond, and hard working citizens taking a well-earned moment to relax and soak in some sun, I rejoiced in seeing more clearly that life is not a check-off list of jobs and tasks that need to be done.

Pond in Central Park where part of Stuart Little was filmed

Lists can help keep order, but they are not the end-all and be-all of existence. Life is so much more than human tasks accomplished.

Life is a spiritual experience, not a check-off list.

Life is about feeling close to God and practicing love.

Life is not things we have to do. Life is what we ARE doing!

Life is love lived.

I felt a lot of love while meandering down the paths and around the bends of Central Park last Saturday. And I believe it was easier to feel because I had put a preconceived agenda of what to do that day totally aside. We were letting the Spirit move us, and the effect was one of no strain or stress, no hurry or rush, but peace, calm, quiet, restfulness—love felt.

Jesus let the Spirit move him, but he also had a strong sense of order in his life. He knew he had a mission to accomplish. He knew what his Father-Mother expected of him, and he worked hard to be a faithful son. But he also mentally dwelt at that happy median of trusting the Spirit to lead him each day and move him in a progressive direction. He didn’t humanly schedule his life, but spiritually lived it.

Some people have no problem forsaking lists, but then they struggle with finding order. I am looking for the happy median–order–but freedom too.

It is comforting to understand that God’s plan is better than mine.

It certainly was comforting last weekend!

We still visited a large number of places in two days, but at Spirit’s restful pace, and not in a mortal mind hurried race. The weekend was truly a delightful time.

1 thought on “Life is not a check off list”

  1. Thanks, Evan – I loved your ideas! Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I actually did this today when I took my dog for a walk to a local park. It occurred to me to take him on a side path to see if we could get down to the creek – quite steep in places. We discovered 4 children already heading that way, who helped us find the path down. We all had a great time! They fussed over the dog playing in the water and mud, and they told me about their dogs at home. Their Dad was coaching soccer nearby. It’s been pretty quiet at our house, (our daughter & granddaughters live a great distance away, and just left after a recent visit). The delightful children lifted my spirits – and I hope they enjoyed our visit as well. Spontaneous moments can bring wonderful joy!

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