Monday, September 27, 2010


Without mountains I'm totally lost—north, south, east, west, I haven't a clue. Dee, on the other hand, always knows where he is. He stands still for a second, turns a little bit one way or another and then says, "That's north." He can do it wherever we are in the world. I asked him today how he can always tell. "I swallowed a compass when I was a little kid," he said.

Some people seem to know where they are and where they're going. PJ just turned one. Last week at his birthday party his mom set him on the grass and he immediately took off crawling toward a little rock ledge in the yard. Every time he got close, giant arms grabbed him from above and carried him far from his goal, hoping he'd lose interest in his risky adventure.


Not this boy. He'd look around to reassess his position and start again. Danger or no danger, he knew where he wanted to go.

Many times I've been heading one way and some giant circumstance came along to change my course. Sometimes it saved me from falling off a ledge, I guess, but most of the time it just frustrated my timetable or took me sightseeing.

Every once in a while I try to stand still and feel my inner compass, remind myself of where I'm going. Then I turn a little bit one way or another and set off again to find what I'm searching for.

Tonight I asked myself, "What do I want to have happen between now and New Year's Day?" These are a couple of my answers: Have a fun, memorable conversation, one-on-one, with each of my kids and grandkids and express the joy they give me. Now that I know where I'm going, I can plan holiday activities that will take me there. There's a purpose to the busy-ness of the season.

When I just make a list of all the fun stuff I need/want/ought to do, I often lose track of why I'm doing it. Asking myself what I want to have happen focuses me on the reason, and gives me a more exact direction to prioritize my plans.

I had a dear friend who was teaching a Sunday lesson one week. She got carried away by the darling sailboat handouts she was making. From Monday to Saturday she cut white cotton triangles, stitched rickrack and tied string, crafting perfect little sails. It took her hours to write a message in an artsy calligraphy on a tiny life-saver she dangled from the sail. Finally the sails were ready to stick in the donut that would make the boat.

That Sunday morning she called me frantically and said, "I was finishing the handouts til after midnight and now I have to go pick up the donuts! I didn't have time to prepare the lesson. Could you teach it? It's on priorities."

All during my lesson she stuck the sails in the donuts with the reminder saying: Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. I don't think it even occurred to her that she'd spent the whole week too busy for the donut because she was so focused on the hole!

With so many directions to choose from, it's good to consult our inner compass, figure out exactly where we are, and decide what we want to have happen next. Then we can figure out the direction we need to go.


What do you want to have happen in your life?
So what direction do you have to go?


kenju said...

I have t o study that for a while so I'll know. As of this moment, I'm not really sure.

Your teaching friend didn't learn her own lesson, did she?

Christie said...

Seriously so true. How many times do we do that? I know I'm guilty of it. Thanks for the reminder.

Diane said...

Thanks for the reminder. It's all about the why and who, not the what. I will be reframing my context over the next few days!

the wrath of khandrea said...

is that donut story a joke? or an object lesson on its own? i can't understand that really being true!

both photos in this post are adorable.

my list of goals is quite lengthy for this year... a recent move usually causes one to reevaluate a lot of things and chart a new course. i won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say my compasses have all been painstakingly tweaked. here's to hoping for minimal natural disasters to throw me off course!!

Hil said...

What a great reminder. The donut story is absolutely classic!

It was wonderful meeting you this weekend. Marta is one of the most genuine and kind people I know... and now I know where she gets it. I hope you guys had a great time here in little ol' Idaho!