I RECENTLY READ somewhere—and I read a lot—if you want to make God laugh, plan your day.
Well, God must have been rolling on the floor, laughing until he cried and his belly hurt on Thursday because I had one of those days. You know, the kind that veers completely from your intended course of action.
My main goal for the day was to finish pulling together financial information for the professional who completes our taxes. Now those of you who know me, either personally or via this blog, realize how much I detest numbers. Math whiz I am not. And to add to the stress this year, I once again need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid after a two-year respite. I despise forms, especially when numbers comprise the bulk of the required information.
I never got to the numbers on Thursday.
Rather, I spent most of my morning researching information for a document my husband needs for a church meeting on Sunday. I’m happy to help him, but I never thought the project would consume hours of my time.
I expect God was getting a chuckle out of that, his subtle reminder that perhaps I should give just a little more of my time to him.
The rest of the day slipped away in work-related issues with precious little time for writing.
Have you noticed the repeat of the word “time” in all three of the above paragraphs? Why am I so obsessed with time?
Despite my day failing to go as planned, I knew I had a delightful evening ahead. My husband and I had been planning for weeks to attend a presentation by Minnesota photographer Doug Ohman who has published a series of “Minnesota Byways” books.
But then, 50 minutes before Ohman’s talk, my husband called. The car had broken down on his way home from work and he needed a ride and a tow.
Long story short, we missed Ohman’s 6 p.m.presentation. (Who chooses these times anyway?)
After a late supper, kitchen clean-up and e-mail catch-up, I finally kicked back in the recliner to finish the final chapters in Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel by John Kriesel as told to Jim Kosmo.
About then, God must have been muttering to himself, “Well, she thinks she’s had a bad day…”
He was right, of course. Put in the perspective of all the problems and tragedies a day can bring, my Thursday rated as just fine, thank you. My legs weren’t blown off in a roadside blast. I wasn’t fighting to live. None of my friends had been killed in Iraq.
Minnesota National Guardsman Kriesel had dealt with all of that and managed to overcome, to be positive, to move forward with his life. His story is about as inspiring as any you’ll ever read.
And then, when I finished that book Thursday evening, I picked up Conversations with the Land by Jim VanDerPol, a Chippewa County farmer and writer. I’m only a few essays into his book, but already I appreciate the approach he takes to the land and to life in general. He pauses to notice, to savor, to value his land and his role as tender of the earth. His writing resonates with me, reconnects me to the prairie of my youth, the land that still influences my writing.
And so my Thursday ended and a new day has begun with a sunrise so splendid that my husband called to tell me about it, as he often does when the morning sky is especially beautiful.
Several weeks ago, I started penning this poem after pausing to watch the sunrise:
Jam on toast
My fingertips lift within a mere whisper of the keyboard
as I halt, half-thought, words interrupted mid-sentence,
to tilt my head toward the window and the sunrise
spreading gold and pink across the sky like jam on toast.
In that morning moment, I want nothing more
than to dip my fingers into the jar of dawn,
to sample her sweetness, to taste of her earthy goodness,
to delight in sunshine and rain and succulent fruit plucked from vines.
PERHAPS TODAY should be the day I finish this poem.
Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling