These mistakes — relying too much on others, waiting for the perfect setup, overthinking structure, feeling obligated to finish what you’ve started, and working with the wrong materials — are deadly. Any one of them will undermine your best efforts. ~Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, p. 128
as I listen to the 09.25.11 podcast by one of my favorite teachers,
I search for
my timeline, something gathered together as homework
for a class
14 months ago, a synopsis of my life. I can't find it. What I leave behind is a mess. Bins and boxes, unfinished scrapbooks, a room full of bits and pieces. The dried and crumbling bouquet of calla lillies from my wedding rests atop a photo of my father as a Marine. I am lured by the promise
of a perfect setup, a flawless filing system, a well-structured story of my earthly life. If I only stack neatly the memories in closet and armoire, then I can pull together the words. I wallow now in the chaos that just minutes ago rested unseen in dark spaces behind tidy doors.
I want the disappointing memories, bottomless emptiness, inky blackness to disappear – and the beauty of a life created to emerge within my words.
Perhaps what I need is a Word?
I didn't find my timeline. Instead in the chaos I discovered the workbook that prompted the homework: Believing God.
We spent 12 weeks on 5 statements, a pledge of faith:
God is who He says He is.
God will do what He says He will do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all thing through Christ.
God's Word is living and active in me.
Our of respect for her work, I resist the urge to replace the author's use of He with my preference S/He. The non-gender-specific pronoun is my weakness, a need to be reminded often that I too am created in God's image.
Taping together one sheet of paper for each decade of my life here on earth, I put my birth father's birth date on the left edge. Scaling the timeline at about 1/2 inch per year, I mark my birth mother's birth date, my own birth date, and the birth dates of my siblings, and my children. Then I added more paper to the left side, space for my grandparents' birth dates, great-grandparents birth dates, perhaps more.
Today, recreating the timeline brings perspective.
Each day is 1/365th of the space between two birthdays – the slash marks at the right so close together that the text is unreadable. The whole year is really such a tiny slice of life when compared to all that came before, all the time God devoted to designing today for me.
And for you.