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List-making back in vogue?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I read in a commentary once that one of the reasons small children need frequent naps is because they are bombarded by emotions throughout the day. The author stated that children experience as many emotional highs and lows in a single day as most adults experience in a week's time.

That's a lot of laughter and a lot of tears. That's a lot of disappointment and a lot of smiles. All in a single day.

Perhaps I'm entering my second childhood. Perhaps life is just moving so quickly, my heart is having trouble keeping up. The truth is I'm frequently feeling in need of a nap or a good long cry followed by a nice long nap.

Although I quit making lists many years ago, Danny and I were compelled to start one last week.

We're trying to keep track of all of the world events making headlines during 2011, to see whether or not it's our imagination that the world seems to be on the fast-track to destruction.

I still have to do the research to determine the timeline and whether or not some events happened as 2010 came to a close or as 2011 was newly dawning, but the short list (off the top of my head because the master list is at home), starts with the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shooting of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords and the six fatalities of that event is there. Of course, the tragedy that has become a way of life in Japan is listed as is the death toll that continues to climb in the recent spate of tornadoes in the South.

We added the death of Osama bin Laden Monday morning.

In just the past week alone we've had a royal wedding, the beatification of the late John Paul II, the aforementioned tornadoes and bin Laden -- each one with plenty of video feed and innumerable commentators discussing every single angle of each story.

Even though some of those events don't qualify as catastrophic, I am compelled to shout, "enough already." And it's only the fourth day of May.

Will and Kate are well and truly wed. The dress was beautiful, the ceremony touching and the couple appeared to be very much in love with one another.

And, whether you're a sinner or a saint, the scene from Rome was certainly reminiscent of the days immediately following John Paul II's death in 2005, with the multitudes clamoring for space in St. Peter's Square.

However, the tornado videos and the thousands of stories resulting from the storms are much more compelling. In some cases there is a blatant condemnation of man v. man -- in many, many more the testament of the open-handedness of one man to another is reason to celebrate, to mingle tears with gladness.

And now, Osama bin Laden, self-proclaimed and self-proven enemy of the United States, is dead.

On Tuesday morning the Associated Press had no fewer than five different story angles on his demise (probably more), and on Tuesday afternoon, Accuweather documented the role weather played in the assault on his compound. I shudder to think about the magnitude of the crisis that will push bin Laden off of center stage.

Also noted on the list are the ongoing economic woes. Between the falling dollar and stagnant wages, more and more people are having to learn how to do more with less. Even the television commercials have jumped on that bandwagon with none other than the Charmin bears offering their suggestions.

Thanks to the rising cost of fuel, list making at our house is not limited to catastrophic world events. We've gone back to the one-trip-per-week visit to the grocery stores in an attempt to minimize our already admittedly minimal expenditure of gasoline. In order for the one-trip-per-week regimen to succeed, lists are of paramount importance.

One list we don't have in our house is a "bucket list," as there is only one thing worthy of man's pursuit. Jesus hinted at it numerous times with the parables of the treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great price, in Matthew's gospel. The writer of Ecclesiastes concluded at the end of his many words observing the condition of man, our wickedness and our righteousness, "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." in Ecclesiastes 12: 13 and 14.

Many years ago a pastor challenged his congregation to make an effort, each and every day, to see God at work. It is quite an interesting exercise and on a good day, much more satisfying than crossing anything off of a bucket list.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8 (NIV)

I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.


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