On Days Off

February 23, 2014Filed under blogMarkdown source

These past few days I have completely missed my normal writing times—no devotions, and certainly not the other few pieces I had been planning to write. This was disappointing: I have enjoyed the habit of writing regularly, and I intend to keep it up. As I have often noted in the past (in more blog posts on previous versions of the site than I can count, still less dig up at the moment), writing serves to focus my thoughts as little else does. Moreover, though my #devotions posts are not especially excellent as writing goes, the discipline of writing is like many other things: sometimes it matters most that you do it more than the doing of it be particularly magnificent.

Most of my running is this way. The vast majority of my runs are entirely unexceptional and become notable only in their consistency. They are not tiring and not particularly fast—for me, at least! This is an important qualification, I recognize, though one that is nonetheless closely tied to the very ordinary nature of these runs. They become interesting, and are effective, only in the aggregate. My entire training plan is built on going slowly and training the “easy” side of my physiological response to running. The effect over time is extraordinary, though: my easy runs with a toddler in a stroller today are faster than my best runs alone were a few years ago.

My hope for this year is to do something the same with my writing. I do not expect that the majority of my words will be particularly elegant or well-put-together. I expect most of my posts to go largely unread and unnoticed, and that is perfectly fine with me—indeed, more than fine, because I am writing them first of all as a double act of self-discipline. From those devotional posts I hope to gain not an audience but the benefit of thoughtful reflection the Scriptures I read and the helpful effect of regular writing on my other writing.

So when, as in the last few days, I simply cannot get to that writing because other things intrude, I have a double response. First, I recognize that this is totally all right, under the circumstances. Jaimie and I have been spending time with friends and each other, and my normal writing times in the evenings have simply been elided by those other activities. Second, though, I recognize that such things are likely to come up often, and as such am motivated to commit once again to doing this writing in the mornings as much as possible.

For several weeks in the beginning of the semester this spring, I was able to get up, do my reading, and do my writing before I went to class at 8am. A few weeks ago, Jaimie’s grandmother passed away and we flew her out for the funeral, and that weekend completely tossed my habits and schedule out of alignment. Instead of my two normally scheduled tasks for the weekend (school and work), I had three—and one of them in the form of a teething toddler. The other two slipped. I have only just finally caught up, and as such I am hoping that in the week ahead I shall be able to resume my previously very effective habits of doing all these things to start the day rather than to finish them.

That, of course, assumes I get over this blasted cold that I seem to have caught last night… Life is a funny thing, sometimes.