Thursday, February 7, 2008

Getting Things Done, Part 2: The Impact of Lent

Lent began yesterday, and, while I haven't been in a church that practiced Lenten rituals in over thirty-five years (I do miss the hot-cross buns), last year I decided to use Lent as a springboard to give up a negative habit: computer games. I did so sucessfully, not even playing games on Sundays (which are not part of Lent), although I did backslide one day near the end of Lent and play a few. In the ten and a half months since, however, the bad habit has returned, and now I find mself eliminating mines and moving cards instead of tending toward business, that is, my avocations of writing, genealogy, and Christain studies. Thank God that all games are deleted from our computers at work, and it's only at home that I have the problem.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a new Lent season, I decided to do it again. So Tuesday night was the last time I'll see Solitare and Free Cell for forty days plus Sundays. Maybe, this year, the habit will stick and I will find myself still game free when Lent begins in 2009.

So what did I do with the time? Did I write a column in the Documenting America series? Did I work on a chapter in In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming Poeple? Did I market anything? Did I pursue a new ancestor, and try to drag him/her out of the depths of some Internet web page? Did I start a new poem?

No, but I did something perhaps more important for the needs of the moment: I started on my income taxes. I had the goal for the evening, only one or two hours work, of making a start on the taxes for our (my wife's and mine) home business partnership taxes. I hoped at best to copy the spreadsheet from last year, wherein I calculate profit and loss, and make a handful of entries to check the formulas; in addition, I hoped to gather all the papers needed to complete the calculations another day. Instead, I was able to enter ALL of the transactions for our main business, leaving only the irregular items to do tonight. Since these are a much smaller set, I should be able to finish that tonight and know what profit we made. Yes, we appear to have made a profit this year, the first in four years of operating.

Which gives me a wonderful feeling of getting things done. Oh what I might accomplish in life if I could wrap my brain and body around getting things done that need to be done. If Lent can help me with that, I will celebrate it every year.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Sara and I have given up television again this year...I hope that this fast enables us to cultivate healthy habits, rather than just replacing the time spent watching tv with time online, etc. So far it has been helpful in creating time and space for higher pursuits - though it has not been drastic b/c some of that time has been replaced with computer games - which weren't previously much a part of my life. Hopefully, I don't pick up a bad habit in the process. ;)

Oh...I'd have to do a little research on your other comment below, but I do think that most if not all of Charles Wesley's hymns began as poems and then were later set to music by both Wesley brothers (John has a few hymns he has written as well...but Charles was by far gifted poet and lyricist). I could be wrong, he may have had the thought of turning them into congregational songs during composition, but the vast majority of his was not set to music or ever sung. There are some Charles Wesley scholars out there who would know...maybe if I have some time I'll look for the answer - though it is not really a pressing question. Blessings ~ RLS