Really, how could this be any better? Yummm! I sat down to the table — gazing out in awe and admiration at the sunrise as the light danced in tiny shimmers across Lac du Nibiinaabe’s surface. It couldn’t be more perfect. “This is what country life is supposed to be,” I mused. Great breakfast, beautiful sunrise, slight fog rising from the water as if to tickle the leaves (painted in beautiful hues from gold to red) playing against the woody tree backdrop…
Ahem, Hello! The throat-clearing sound that now filled my head like a scratched record interrupted my bliss and yanked me into the reality of the present moment, Fall, living in the country, and the tasks of preparing for the impending winter.
In that instant, my beautiful, idyllic morning became punctuated. There it was, “The List,” on the table just off my elbow, where I left it sitting, staring me down like a gunslinger in an old western — challenging me to jump into action.
While there are a lot of jokes about forgetfulness and needing to create a list, I think that having one is a good thing. It puts tasks and their importance into perspective. A good thing, it offers a beginning and a roadmap to an end of completion that delivers a sense of accomplishment.
Wikipedia defines a checklist as a type of informational job aid, a tool used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task.
I find comfort in that definition and especially in the part about being “An aid used to reduce failure.”
But what happens when we don’t complete our lists? Are we then failures?
As a creative person with varied interests, I’ve struggled over my years with what constitutes failure and how it defines us. With that in mind, I’ll be the first to confess that over the years, and the seasons I’ve put together many lists and not even come close to completing all that I set out to do before it was too late to get it done at all.
Case in point, recently I discovered that last year’s Fall list included several items that were left unchecked. Uncompleted. My memory tells me that although my husband and I were at the time disappointed in not completing the items, at the end of the day everything seemed to work out okay, our life went on with new ideas, new lists, and new items for the future.
We learned from our list. We re-wrote it, refined some of the points, and redacted a few others that no longer seemed so important to us. While the list has changed, it has proven itself to be a great tool, helping us to compensate for our potential limits of human memory and attention. It’s helped us through many Fall seasons to ensure our consistency and completeness in carrying out the regular tasks to ensure that we are ready for winter.
And, while the Wikipedia definition provides comfort in defining our use of lists, I believe it is most comforting to tell our self that we are not failures just because we failed at doing something or in getting something done. The trick is to put it all into perspective to know that our only real failures come when we stop trying.
Perhaps this Fall we will complete the entire list.
Happy Fall! ~ Kymberley
Jeremiah 8:4 – Jeremiah, say this to the people of Judah: This is what the Lord says: You know if a man falls down, he gets up again. And if a man goes the wrong way, he turns around and comes back.