Jesus on the cross created by Father Theophan. Photo by Father Theophan
By Father Theophan
Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church
So much to do!
It’s just a garage. Moreover, it’s just a hobby. How can there be so much to do?
The wet clay and the newly thrown pots need to be kept wet, but the pots need to dry but not freeze. The wheel and tools need to be cleaned and put away. The kiln needs to be cleaned out and vacuumed before I fire another bisque load. Before another glaze firing, I’ll need to buy and apply kiln wash. For that matter, I need more clay and glazes. Pots that have been bisqued wait to be glazed.
And right now it’s cold. Oh so cold in the garage.
I’ve moved inside and been concentrating on painting icons for a while. I had to crate up an icon to ship to Iowa. Thankfully, it made it there in one piece.
My wife calls all of this (in her head) her room; all the things she keeps in mind that need to be done. It’s truly funny how little our two “rooms” overlap. She has the girls, their clothes, girls scouts and cookies, the house, the laundry, friendships, church, ad infinitum. I have the family in my head in a more general way, the faithful of the church and their problems, the Art in Public Places Board, Saint Sophia Seminary and its students, and then the rest of my room is a jumble of all my little projects, potter, iconography, woodworking, building, bits of wire and scrap wood. It’s all there, but I try to filter them into a hallway where I take on the next thing in order.
I take the next thing in order, and focus only on that one thing, only at my best.
Most of the time, I can feel the cloud of things pressing for my attention, looming in the periphery of my consciousness.
At my worst Master Yoda chides me, “All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.”
If we cannot put away or at least quiet the impending future, we cannot be effective in the present moment.
Projects poorly done are one thing, but people can feel it when we are not present with them. When we hold our smartphone or have it on the table while we are talking, or worse when we let a call or a text or an email interrupt an IRL conversation. Our lack of contact during the past year should make real conversations that much more precious to us.
The future is full of possibilities, potential, opportunities. Some will contain disappointment and pain, but even those can result in growth, but whatever the future holds or demands, don’t let it usurp today’s joy.
Today is the only day we really have; this moment is the only moment.
Do the next right thing and let the mess and chaos of the future sort itself out when it comes.