There is a little note on the wall next to my pillow.
A pink slip of paper with four words on it.
in that order.
I knew before classes even started
that I’d eventually need a little help
keeping my priorities straight.
I’d eventually need a little reminder.
But three weeks passed
and I like to think I did a pretty good job
keeping everything in line.
I glanced at the paper, my little sign,
in the morning, throwing my blue comforter back on the bed
and again at night, snuggling down into the soft sheets,
and I mentally checked it off-
proper priorities: accomplished.
But there’ll be no mental check mark tonight.
This should be a really productive day,
I predicted rather rashly to The Roommate.
God probably chuckled. Or maybe He just shook His head.
Because when I said productive, I meant
getting a lot of homework done.
I meant more pink highlighted lines in my planner;
things already accomplished, tasks already achieved.
But productive’s not always a checklist
and relationships still rank higher than homework.
But still I plod on.
Class out at 5:25 and I’m scurrying to dinner; I’m hungry and
I’ve been thinking about dinner since I cleared my lunch dishes
five hours before.
Dinner halfway done and relationships,
the real, flexible, messy, involved part of life
that can never be checked off or truly completed,
start to move and become alive.
Dinner conversations mesh into chatting in the room.
Errands are communal and there’s a stop to chat, too.
Last minute plans and an hour sitting in the Plaza,
community rich with encouragement and joy
and not something I’ll ever be able to highlight as “done”.
Homework in a room- I can’t, I just need to buckle down and focus and get this done.
All alone for a second, speed reading’s basically reading, right?
Knock on the door, and it’s not even my room.
Emergency prayer meeting for a special concern, and my textbooks are tucked behind the couch.
Every time I pick up the book, open the Blackboard page,
scant minutes pass before someone comes, someone knocks, someone speaks.
Because homework follows a schedule: read this, do that, mark that off,
but relationships don’t.
There is not timetable for hearts that hurt
laughs to be shared
or moments to sit and talk together.
There’s no timetable for this and it’s not a box to check off.
Maybe you’re being productive in a non-academic way? The father suggests.
Productive or not, this is real. This is life.
I plan, I strive, I study,
and God shakes His head. Shakes His head at my small view of the world
of His children, my friends and floormates,
small view of His plan.
There’s a time to study. I’m here at school to study for His glory.
But there’s also a time to put down the book
close the computer tab
and be in relationship.
Because that’s what’s real. And that’s what comes first.