Shortening the Lists

There are always lists.

I have resigned myself to the fact that there will always be lists of the undone and the unbought and the unplanned for, lists telling me what I should do, what I should make, what I should clean, and what I should buy to make everything easier.

I love lists, but I hate them, too. I love them because things swirl in my head and a list helps me get them out, before they escape to wherever forgotten things go.


Lists can hang over you, though,  like those slow flies that seek refuge this time of year. They buzz overhead and bump from drunken flight to lazy crawl. Then, they fall on you. And I hate that.

This time of year the kids want to make lists (or, Pinterest boards - oy) of gifts to make and give and of course, the gifts they hope to receive. It unnerves me more than a little. It bothers the sensibilities in me to think about all the things we could make and buy and give. I chafe to open the mailbox everyday to more catalogs of stuff we should get, and it annoys me to have to pull every blasted staple out of the binding before recycling it.

Stuffed with stuff.

That could sum up this time of year. Stuffed at Thanksgiving and maybe we're thankful for people but the things - The Things are just around the corner and the day itself can't even be wholly set aside for giving thanks anymore. Nope. We turn Thursday from stuffing ourselves with turkey, right into the flesh frenzy of stuffing ourselves with stuff.

And so goes another rant about American consumerism and the downfall of our society.

old and new windmill

But really.

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. 

1 Peter 2:11

I've been reading s l o w l y through 1 Peter and trying to soak in the Words lately, trying to get every last drop out of them instead of rushing to fill a quota.

These words stuck me in the heart  because we've spent unnumbered hours shopping for a van to replace our totaled one and we've been vacillating between old and new, lease or buy, van or small SUV. Leather and DVD players and Navigation and back-up cameras have waged their war against my discontented soul.

If we just had wads of cash it would be no problem, right?

This verse was dividing my flesh from my spirit the way the Word does, and I realized  (again) that:

A.) needing something was different from wanting it

B.) I just need something to drive

C.) I am unable to hear the Spirit of God when I am in such a quandry about which one and how much and I want that color

I just need something to drive, to put groceries and kids in, to take me safely to and fro, and to be an extended purse for all the junk I find I carry in my vehicle.

It's been a month and we are still searching and scouring for the Vehicle Which to Drive. It's taken on a life of its own and that's why it has capital letters. I should say, it's sucked the life out of us and we go to bed bug-eyed with Craigslist grammar in our heads, like fingernails on a chalk board.

All this searching has waged war with my soul, so I've scratched it off my list for now. I don't need. I only want.

And I suppose that's the place I want to arrive at with each of the lists in my life. Jesus never prescribed a life by list, and the two bullet points He drove home are seldom wrapped up in any of my enumerations:

Love God.

Love your neighbor.

Granted, a shorter list does not an easier one make.  And loving God and my neighbor doesn't mean that I will have a van to drive...but several neighbors have offered me their vehicles for necessary trips. That's love.

That's a gift.

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Imperfect Prose