January! Time for hibernating: warm soups on the stove, scented candles flickering on the counter, movie watching, book reading, and calendar plotting.
I am a self-admitted calendar nut. I love to buy new calendars, to choose the perfect desk calendar (I have to scribble all over my calendar–and I now have an annual steady!). And of course, I love a fun wall calendar for my office, a.k.a., the kitchen.
In the quiet interval between the holidays and the onslaught of our school schedule, I have time to survey the year. My husband has an odd work schedule, so I plot out the weeks, looking for gaps and holes to fill with the odd outing, company, home projects, and vacations.
When are the school breaks? The weekly lessons? The beginning of our dreaded (from the mama perspective) baseball season? And, never for the faint at heart, the ballet recital? Such are the things that fill our daily lives.
Most important, when do my husband’s scheduled weeks off coincide with the children being out of school? I see that he works both Martin Luther King and President’s Day this year. While I wouldn’t plan much then anyway, I can attest that his working increases the chances of snow on those days by at least fifty percent.
And as for that magic week in the summer? I am googling and searching and hoping for something fun.
What does all this calendar-gazing achieve? Am I simply trying to control my life, micromanaging each blank page?
The unblemished year stands beguilingly before me—a series of unfilled squares. As yet it contains no bad days: no fights, no sickness, no misunderstandings. The empty pages tantalize me with perfection.
I want to believe that with careful planning I can keep them flawless—that I can play God with my own life. The reality is my best plans are most likely a muddled mess, and my playing with my calendar is rather like my daughter making “soup” out of mud, weeds, and rainwater in the back yard. My plotting is a burden I should gladly lay down. Control over my own life is not a responsibility I really want—but I still find it tempting to hold onto it.
I need to trust that while the upcoming days will inevitably be fallen ones, the God of the universe, who holds us in the palm of His hand and will one day make all things new, is using them for His glory and for our good.
For 2012, I pray with the psalmist,
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!