The other day I was thinking about my to-do list, that small piece of paper on which I write my chores or goals for the day or week. Here are a few items currently on my to-do list: write blog (which I’m doing now!), call Sue, mail handouts to Kalamazoo, prepare presentations for Villa Maria, PA, return library books, get oil change, answer Elaine’s email, write two Advent reflections. Nothing too earthshaking there, just the ordinary tasks of an ordinary day.
Everytime I accomplish something on my list, I cross it off. I feel good when I do that. I get a real sense of accomplishment. In fact, sometimes if I do an errand that is not on my to-do list, I quickly write it on my list and then immediately cross it off. (I bet I’m not the only person who does this!)
But today I was thinking: what would my to-do list look like for my spiritual life? Maybe something like this: become a more loving person, talk to God more, help someone in need, smile often, enjoy God’s creation more, forgive that offense, say you’re sorry, read something spiritual.
The truth is, of course, we really don’t have two different lists. It is precisely through our ordinary to-do list that we achieve the deeper goals on our spiritual to-do list. Calling Sue, for example, is a way I reach out to a friend who is a little “under the weather” these days. My writing is another way I reach out to other people. I also talk to God often while I’m writing. If our ordinary to-do list bears no connection to our spiritual to-do list, then something needs to change. Perhaps we just have to become more aware of how our ordinary tasks can really be spiritual acts.
What about you? Do you have a to-do list? If so, what’s on it? How do your ordinary activities relate to your growth as a spiritual person?