I've been making lists lately. I've never been a lister (although I've tried half-heartedly once or twice), and the more time goes by the worse I manage it. And procrastination? Let me give you some examples: all but one or two of my stories for my creative writing classes have been written the night before. Honestly, a deadline means two things for me. It will make sure that I do at least get the work done, but it will also ensure cramming all of it into the last hours. I made a to do list the other day, though. I was at work and had a ton to do and kept forgetting what all it was (yes Southern construction! what all! who all! etc.) so I wrote it down and it really helped. And then Friday before I left for a retreat our chapter went on, I had so many things I needed to do and barely enough time to do them (which for me is really toeing the line) and so I made a list again. And I tell you what, I got every single thing I put on that list done, including showering which is more impressive than you might think.
So I got everything done and left for the retreat and, until this very moment, have not had a Sun Drop since. Just saying. The retreat was pretty great. I'm thinking the weather brought in for real fall (different than calendar fall), because it rained and rained and the wind was crazy like a tropical storm, and then two days later it quit and since then it's been nothing but drawn out sky and no humidity. And then the talk. I'd been so nervous leading up to it, just wanting it to be done and over with. Let me just say that I am not a speaker. Right, I am not a speaker. I'm a writer, a reader (not out loud, but that's for another post), and language-er (linguist?). Because when I speak I don't have time to think, and I'll try ten different ways to explain one thing that I just can't explain exactly how I mean (wait, don't I already do that while I write?), and on top of all that I just get too nervous to make any sense.
So all that said, thanks to everyone who prayed for me. The talk went really well, nothing to do with me at all, except I guess that I stood up there and said okay, God, and started speaking. I even said a few things that had never really occured to me to say, managed to look really surprised in front of everyone, and then realized, whoa. Yeah this is scary, but it's not so bad either, and man is God awesome. I've always had a hard time when I've prayed something like, God, please just speak through me. Because that usually means I pray it and then still don't know what to say and get frustrated. Mostly I think I just showed up and God took it from there, and the great thing about that is that I had no idea how to make (let) that happen. How to actually trust that he would do that, how to let him have it. No idea at all. And somehow, maybe even for the first time, bam. It happened. So that was a pretty big moment for me, just seeing how God works in things and being willing even when I hardly know how, when I'm worried I can't do that right.
But I'm thinking about double meanings and words, about lists, as in he lists, we list. I've always had a bit of an affinity for nautical terms and I don't know if it's because my grandpa was a fisherman or the New Testament or even just the idea of a sea and a sky, the fact that you can come into alignment with anything at all in the middle of the ocean. I'm thinking about listing, how it means to incline to one side, to careen, especially with boats.
First, careen is a dang vivid word. I can't read that word without seeing a train car, something with speed behind it and likely on fire, rocketing toward an edge, a cliff. It's a word that goes with other words like passion and wild, with movement. And to list, to lean toward, to tend toward, to cant. Sunday, Pastor Jeff mentioned Psalm 37:4--"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” How when you seek after him, delight yourself in him, his desires become your own, and you begin to want what he wants. I can't even tell you how true this is, how I've begun to list toward God, tend toward him, or rather--he's tending me toward himself. And what does it look like in the end? This word catches on fire, and I want to be careening toward God, something that brings to mind the quote about running a rescue mission within a yard of hell. I'm talking about urgency, being consumed by God.
And another quote, this time The Swell Season: "Take this sinking boat and point it home." Talk about aligning with something, how there's a way home even when all you can see is stretching ocean.