Making time to write is difficult, and I don’t just mean on this blog. For me, Wonderstuff is just a slice of the pie I would like to bake everyday, but the specific ingredients (time and energy) aren’t always in ready supply. Couple that with the fact that the oven, at times, is already in use for another dish that requires extra attention (the oven, in this lame metaphor, is life in general).
I was talking with a student today about finding a quality time during the day to spend time in prayer. I explained some ancient practices of worship and prayer, specific devotional disciplines, monastic offices, and even the neo-traditional “quiet time” structures in an effort to hone in on not only how to pick a time of day to commune with the Other, but how to stick to it as well. Unfortunately, even for a guy who’s been “doing ministry” for over ten years, I don’t have a clear answer. I have much the same problem with this as I do with maintaining a writing schedule. Despite what The Stones would have us believe, some days time is not on our side.
So what are we to do? How are we to practice a desire for daily discipline (be it prayer, reading, writing, or even spending quality time with the person you love) when our lives rarely lend themselves to undeviating order and unfluctuating structure. I’m always jealous when I read about authors who preserved a perfect writing schedule day after day after throughout their career, or the philosophers and priests and such who found time to spend not just minutes but multiple hours in prayer and contemplation. The film About a Boy even suggests that life can be divided up into thirty minute increments that can easily function as a kind of currency when it comes to arranging one’s day. Well, I don’t buy it.
The truth is, our lives tend to spin out of control at times. We exist as much in chaos as we do in categorization, and until we recognize this truth, we will continue to be frustrated by the undulating nature of our lifestyles. I tell people that I’m still working on getting a grip on all this stuff, but it occurs to me that perhaps seeking to “get a grip” is one of the problems.
Letting go … now that’s something different. It’s hard, it seems careless, and it reeks of unproductivity.
But it might be worth a shot.