Monday, April 19, 2010

To Finish or Not To Finish

Related to the last post and Amy's thoughtful and honest commentary, I got to thinking.

I am reading a book right now called Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. It's pretty marvelous. I'm really enjoying it. Even so, I find myself flipping to the back page and calculating how many pages I have left to read until it's finished. If I read x number of pages per day, it will take me y days to finish. Could I finish it today? And yet, I really like the book! So why am I looking to the back to see how soon it will be over? Why am I even reading? Is it only to check it off my to-do list too? Is this typical of our get-it-done culture? Maybe my generation, or my part of the generation ... the culturally-aware Christian group who tries to simultaneously simplify their lifestyle and increase their impact ... has moved on from trying to accumulate stuff to trying to accumulate accomplishments. It's not about how much you attain, but how much you achieve, how much you can check off your to-do list. Even how many stories you have to tell. Stories are great, but maybe we're meant to live them, not tell them?

I'm thinking about starting something that I know I won't be able to finish, something that will last my lifetime and maybe beyond. A lot of those things are already involved in my life. You know, being part of a family, creating a family (well, I haven't gotten quite there), being a Christian, being a musician, etc. etc. But what if I intentionally pursued something that I could never finish, never check off my to-do list. What if I couldn't even put it on my to-do list?

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

So I thought about this - and I think you've already suggested an idea of your own in a previous post that I think is a really good one. Find out all you can about your family's history, and make a record of it! There is always one more sister, one more grandparent, one funny story about a cousin... that could definitely keep you busy for the rest of your life.

The Wibbler said...

Thanks Amy! I think I'll do it. But it also scares me to start. Sometimes beginning is the hardest part. So when?