A Shortage of…
During church today, Fr. John talked about humanity’s fear of shortages: food, money, friendship, love, etc. He said that the most common fear is that of a money shortage. Of course, I began to wonder which one of these worries rules my psyche (actually, I can’t remember the rest of the homily because I needed to figure this out.) One thought led to another, and soon, I had my answer.
While in my early twenties, I had this friend named Angie. Angie was cute and bubbly and a few years younger than I was. Angie would say anything that popped into her head. No topic was off-limits. On the day we first met, she said these exact words to me: “Huh, you’re really nice. When I first saw you, I thought you were going to be a bitch.” Even though I had known her for maybe an hour when she said those words to me, I wasn’t offended. I actually laughed.
As I pondered Fr. John’s words, the following exchange between Angie and me popped into my head.
Angie: “You really care about time.”
Me: “Why do you say that?”
Angie: “You’re always looking at your watch.”
Before that conversation, I had never thought about my constant monitoring of the clock, but Angie was right. I always had to know what time it was, I always had to be on-time, and I always followed a tight, self-imposed schedule. And now, twenty years later, not much has changed…well, maybe a few things have changed. After having kids, I’ve gotten a little more flexible but it does take a lot of self-control to keep it together when I’m running late.
As you may or may not know, I am working on my third book and it is going very slow. In fact, I haven’t written a word since before Christmas. I’ve been telling myself that I’m just too busy to write. But after today’s homily, I know I’ve been stalling because of my fear of a time shortage.
Whenever I write, I feel like I time travel. I sit down at 8:00 a.m., and the next time I look at the clock it might be 2:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. My family has left the house and returned several times without my notice. The phone has rung more than once but I can’t seem to redirect my focus. And when I finally return to the present, the house is a mess and everyone is mad at me (including the dog) because I haven’t paid attention to any of them.
So now that I know what the problem is, I can face my fear and step into that old time machine. Fear is an easy thing to override. When I know that is my only obstacle, I can meet it head on, push it into some dark corner of my brain, and forge ahead. Tomorrow morning I will strap in and brace myself for the time shortage I will experience. When I’ve completed my travels and returned to the present at some point in the future, who knows what I’ll find. But one thing is for sure, I know I’ll be very pleased to have finished my third book.
And to think, I almost didn’t go to church today.