Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Achievements That Sneak Up on Us

I don't know why, or from whence the idea came to me for this morning's post.  I do know it popped into my head while I was watching the conclusion of Therese Borchard's Beyond Blue video post for today.  When I was supposed to be listening to her heart-felt reading of St. Teresa of Avila's prayer to a constant God--the prayer that was supposed to help me deal with the seasonal dread I share with Ms. Borchard.

Maybe it was because the video's theme was change, seasonal and otherwise, and coping with the fear it produces more vividly for some of us.  I too am especially wary of the waning light in late autumn, knowing the cold and darkness that lurks behind the fragile colors.  I connected with Therese's thoughts on the subject, and though I don't any longer share her faith tradition, my eclectic Unitarianism urges me to take comfort and inspiration where it is offered.  

But somewhere in the midst of the prayer's "punch line" I floated off into a reverie of change.  And that musing brought me into the realm of the blog-fairy who often dusts my thought process with the seed of a post.  

Maybe I am supposed to realize how many "good" changes have come into my life.  But in the context of "putting stuff to bed," and our attention to plans and lists and schedules, I am led to the recognition of the significant "accomplishments" in my life that I wasn't wise enough, or prescient enough, or egotistical enough to put on any to-do list or to feature in any life plan.

It has been humbling to this holder of an advanced degree in urban and regional planning to face this pretty obvious fact.  So obvious, in fact, that it boasts its own product line.  But just because we can order and own refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, lapel pins, coffee mugs and t-shirts declaring that "Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans"--attributed to John Lennon, in his song "Beautiful Boy"--doesn't negate the truth of this truism.

This morning, I am reminded that all three of my children were "surprises," all coming to me at times and from avenues that I would not have thought propitious.  My last long visit with my parents in my own home was courtesy of Katrina.  And recently, I "accidentally" achieved a brand of success in Sunday's 5K by virtue of having had a birthday three weeks before.  If I think about it longer--and I will--I know there are other great things I have done without knowing I was going to.  Without planning.

Think of it as life's positive little "gotchas."  A recurring surprise party on an unpredictable schedule.  I, for one, can't wait to see what I'm going to do next.  And in the meantime, I'll just keep plodding along with my little lists and intentions.  It'll give me something to do while I wait.

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