Edgar Guest published nearly 12,000 poems in his career with The Detroit Free Press in his “Poem a Day” column that eventually went into syndication. I ask my students what they would think if someone told them they had to write 12,000 poems in their lifetimes. I teach online, so the chat box lights up with pithy little comments questioning the sanity of anyone who thought they could achieve such a number. Yet I’m pretty sure that Guest would have thought the same thing. I don’t think he woke every day and thought how far he had to go to get to 12,000 poems. In fact, I’m not convinced that he even kept track of the numbers over the thirty years at his post. I think he tackled each poem one at a time and tackled the job that needed to be done that day.
Often times I find myself overwhelmed looking at the big picture of all the things that need to happen, and when I look at the whole of my list or expectations, I tell myself that “it couldn’t be done.” I’ve learned not to look at the big picture when I’m in the middle of the stress. Like Guest, I buckle in with my own trace of a grin on my face and hide that worry. I’ve found that worrying about the next task robs me of needed concentration on the one in front of me. As I look up from my work, I realize I achieved far more by ignoring what had to be done later and determining to finish the task at hand.
Then I start getting all psychological and realize that I can apply the same principles in my mind. I often borrow from tomorrow’s stress by worrying about things I can do nothing about in the moment and that may not even need my attention at all. I realize that I’m borrowing trouble from a day I haven’t even been given to concern myself over events that may never happen, and all that does is rob me of today’s peace of mind. Each day, I have to learn again to take life’s struggles as they come and leave tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow. Otherwise, I may miss an opportunity to bless another person who is at this very moment standing in front of me in need. I can be worried about some future need somewhere else that I just might have influence over and not notice the real need today. I need to focus on being faithful in the moment, and when I do that, I can start to sing as I tackle the thing that couldn’t be done and just do it.
…and that’s the view From My Front Porch.