On Task


Sunday mornings find me at Starbucks (Sophia’s is closed) arranging pixels on a screen in an attempt to better understand life as it sweeps me along. Writing is part of my thinking process. It helps me clarify and focus. And picturing potential readers makes it into a conversation, albeit one-sided for now.

Writing is also something I feel compelled to do. I don’t fully subscribe to the notion that everyone has an individual destiny mapped out by God, but I do think we have tasks for which we are uniquely qualified by temperament, talent, experience and calling. I believe we’re born with certain aptitudes for excellence that have to be nurtured in order to produce exquisite fruit for others—divine and human—to enjoy.

As I approach 60, I’ve identified some very specific “fruit” I want to create in terms of my writing. My daily challenge is to be on task as a wordsmith and not to let the mundane rush into every open space like carbon dioxide, displacing the oxygen.

Here’s the conversation part. This is where I turn to you and ask,

Have you thought about your calling?

Do you know what kind of fruit you should be bearing?

How much time do you spend on its cultivation?

Does anything need to change in your life?”

As Captain Jean-Luc Picard says, “Make it so.”

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One thought on “On Task

  1. Hi Mike,

    I’m going to take a page from your book by writing, to sort thoughts prayerfully and acquire more understanding. May the Lord give each of us wisdom.

    My mother’s death and home-going have really made me feel disoriented.

    When my best friend died 19 years ago, I had a big empty hole where my purpose had been cheering him and enjoying friendship with him, through his struggle with cancer, but as a grad student, I had a role to continue in life, and more friends to serve, as God gave me strength.

    My sense of purpose oriented toward my mother was much more encompassing — I moved back to the US from Finland in order to be able to find and buy a house where she and I would live together for her final years. I worked, saved, searched, and finally found the right place. It seemed just in time because the previous winter had shown us that she really shouldn’t spend another winter alone in Michigan. Here with me in Virginia would be better — and she was fully agreeable with that. She didn’t want to make the decisions anymore, but let me take care of her.

    So in July I bought the condo, all one level, near the grocery/shopping center, in a quiet, park-like community. In August, I helped her travel to Virginia with all the luggage she would need until Spring, when we’d figure out our next steps for emptying the house, maybe selling it. I had lined her up with all the healthcare she’d need to replace those in Michigan.

    I’m so thankful she wasn’t alone — not even being at home. There are a million things that could have gone terribly, frightfully wrong, and only a few of them did. We spent her last ten days and nights together in the hospital, in the middle of September.

    It seems like the role I was left with was essentially to work to pay off the mortgage I had just started. Yes, I recognize that I have dear friends to care about and enjoy, to encourage and strengthen — as God gives me strength. As the healing process goes forward, I’ll be better able to see this. I feel emptiness right now, but the center of my life is really Jesus Christ.

    I do believe that God has a plan for each of us, but like a good Father, He doesn’t impose it in an authoritarian way, unless we are rebellious. As long as we enjoy or at least appreciate the loving relationship of grace, He guides us with companionship, sharing, and appealing to our capacity to grow. We have something to look forward to, even if it’s far beyond imagination yet.

    God bless you, Mike — I pray for your wellness and strength!
    Elisabeth

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