I like to have an organized life. I must confess that my idea of organization is not The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s idea. We may share many things, but not planning and organization.
When she begins a project, it is well planned and organized down to the tiniest detail, and she never stops until it is finished. (I think she is still working on me.)
On the other side of the parsonage, there is a different attitude about planning and organization.
I get an idea and think about it for a long time. Then when I feel the time is right, I begin the project. It makes no difference if I’m at the beginning of the project or the end. The only thing that matters is that I am working on “The Project.” So I jump in and begin working on that project.
One afternoon while in the middle of a project, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into my office and said, “What are you doing?”
This was rather sudden and caught me off guard, and I had to stop and think a little bit and ask myself the question, “What am I doing?” After thinking for a little while, I look up at her and say, “I’m working on one of my projects.” I thought that would settle the matter.
But it did not satisfy her, and she asked, “What specific project are you working on right now? And, when will you be finished?”
I never know why she needs to know such personal information. At the time, I had to come up with some response to her question, and it may not be exactly what I’m doing.
I have a bunch of projects I work on throughout the week. For example, I have a sermon, a weekly newspaper column, a magazine article and a book that I am working on.
I must confess there are times I mix them up and get a little bit confused, and my whole week is spent trying to un-confuse my organizational catastrophe.
Once I went back to my wife’s craft room, which I stay away from as much as possible, and saw she was working. I smiled and asked her bluntly, “What are you doing?” I was hoping to catch her off guard.
I wasn’t quite prepared for the answer because, for the next 30 minutes, she explained to me her project from beginning to end, and when she was done, I had no idea what she was doing. So I don’t ask her that question ever again.
I’m not into crafts like she is. I would not know one craft from another, but she is quite an expert on that.
Looking into her craft room one time when she was away, I noticed how well organized it was. Everything was in its place and a place for everything. It would take me many years to get my office as well organized as hers.
One thing I have to deal with in my office is when I think I got everything covered, and I realize everything is wrong. So looking at a project that I’m working on, you would think I had half a dozen projects on the table.
One of my problems is concentration. I may be working on one project, but suddenly something happens, and I’m thinking about another project I have coming up. Unfortunately, I will stop what I’m doing, jump to that project, and make some notes.
I like to have music in my office while I’m working, and there are times I hear a song that reminds me of something, and I have no projects in the works associated with that, so I’m developing now a new project. Whether that project gets finished or not, it’s tough to tell.
I could stop having new ideas today and continue working on what’s on the table for the next ten years.
As I said, I like to finish everything that I start, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
On the stand next to my bed are a notebook and pen. Many times in a week, I wake up in the middle of the night with a thought just buzzing in my head; I quickly jot down some notes before going back to sleep. When I get up in the morning, I look at those notes and have no idea what they are about.
Sometimes those notes look as though they are written in Chinese. Wouldn’t it be something if they were?
At the end of the week, I like to sit on my easy chair with a cup of coffee and think over my projects for the week. How many did I finish? What did I accomplish?
Sometimes that Saturday night draws a blank, and I don’t know how to fill it in.
Once in a while, as I’m thinking about the past week, I remember a project I started Monday and never finished and forgot all about it. Well, that’s on the list for next week.
I thought of a verse of Scripture along this line. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
This is something to think about, and I have tried to apply it to my life, particularly my spiritual life. When I think I have everything covered in my spiritual life, I discover something I haven’t done.
[Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]