Joanna and I were roaming around a Costco today in an effort to get all the necessary ingredients for our February Feast on Saturday. We had worked out a list at our staff meeting on Tuesday that I wrote in a little grey book that I carry pretty much everywhere. In the middle of an aisle it struck me: if I lose this book and somebody reads it, they will likely be perplexed about who I am and what I do.
I have scrawled countless to-do lists that include everything from “accompany friend to court”, “play Christmas carols at the West Detention Centre”, “push for a lease agreement that costs $1/year”, “help community member deal with bedbugs”, “contact lawyer about incorporation”, “purchase 150 pieces of chicken”, “write a report for the Board”, “paint”, “pick up Skittles for friend in hospital (it’s all she feels like eating)”, “submit street outreach receipts”, and “speak at The Spoke Club”.
I have Ontario Disability Worker numbers, funeral plans for too many friends, workshop notes, budgets, lists of what to pack for a vacation, and scribbled ideas about what is next for The Dale. Sometimes I let Cate draw in the book if she’s bored in whatever line we’re waiting in. Occasionally I rip out pages so I can give somebody my contact info or write down the directions they’ve asked for. It truly is a glimpse into my life.
When I got home today I read through some of the earlier entries in this book. One page stood out. On that day I had been listening to Sister Sue Mosteller at a conference and was jotting down words that stood out to me: “encounter”, “abide”, “beloved”. Then she said, “stir up the courage to care and the will to take action so lives can be changed, including yours”. I remember being moved by her words, so much that I needed to write them down.
While my book might be confusing to a person who doesn’t know me, it helps bring some order to my life. When I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to do, writing a list always makes me feel better. When I have what is likely a harebrained idea, I can map it out and see if it might actually take root (or not). I can look back and see what has changed or grown. And I can be reminded of the wise words of people who inspire me. I’m glad I didn’t lose it at Costco.
Sidebar: While I didn’t lose my grey book, I did manage to lose my Costco card somewhere in the store. I’ll have to make a note to get a new one.