Obligations

Before I get into yesterday’s failures, I want to soak in the beauty of this morning’s sunrise. The mist clinging like a cloud to a distant lake is grey and purple, colored by the sun’s rays and the reflections from the water below. A long, narrow strip of pink and grey clouds barely above the distant horizon define what appears to me to be the edge of the Earth. Otherwise, the pale cream and barely yellow sky fades into a white and blue expanse that reveals an empty universe beyond. I can barely contain my emotion, just looking up into the endless, beautiful sky.

The air is chilly now, but it will warm considerably, later. I want to sit and absorb the coming day as it washes over me, but my slothfulness is catching up with me. I can appreciate the sky only briefly before I write a little, then wade into the day’s obligations.

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Oh, I had plans! Grand plans! Yesterday morning and afternoon were going to be devoted to dealing with issues surrounding my dead clothes dryer and my uncooperative garage door, followed by a focus on paperwork. But Mother Nature forgot to take the drugs to tame her psychoses, resulting in violent, threatening weather. So, I stayed indoors, where I could focus on paperwork. I took stacks of paper to the dining table, where I could spread them out and work on them. And I began the process. But something went awry. My mood turned on me, putting one part of me in direct opposition to the other part of me; suddenly without warning, I was of two minds on that matter. Both parts wielded swords, daring the other to make a move. So, I slinked off, leaving my two minds to fight it out among themselves. While they were off doing battle with one another, the rest of me listened to music and created a YouTube music playlist, spending hours crafting a list to share with a magnetic media friend, who already had shared a list with me. And then I spent just a tad over two hours on the monthly Zoom board of directors meeting for my church. And then, just before 5:00 p.m., I opened a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—my reward for a day’s hard work.

Today, I MUST get in gear and do my paperwork. I have to file for an extension on my taxes (first, coming up with a ballpark figure of how much I might owe, or vice versa). And I have to get some documents notarized (in lieu of an impossible-to-obtain stamp). And I have to write letters to accompany those documents. And I must go through other paperwork to determine what other mindless, bureaucratic forms I must complete before submitting mindless drudgery to bureaucrats to give them some sense that their jobs have value, when we all know they are simply filling space because they have to do SOMETHING to justify getting paid below-subsistence wages. And there is much, much more. All equal in drudgery and torment to the other paperwork. It all requires me to look up information that no one needs to know so that someone can claim they verified the information’s submission, despite the fact that no one will ever view it again—and for good reason—because it has no value to anyone for any reason at any time now or in the future. And not even in the past. But that’s neither here nor there. Regardless of how I might feel about this mindless nonsense, I must play the game in order to get paid. Or something like that.

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Knowing what I must do today, the fact that instead, I’m sitting at my desk writing speaks volumes of my discipline. I need a keeper, someone who gently will hold me accountable for doing what must be done.  That, of course, is a lame excuse for laziness. It’s not that I “can’t” get myself in gear; it’s simply that I “don’t.” Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. The etymology of the word suggests it evolved from the Latin discipulus. Somewhere during the evolution of the word its meaning included or involved “mortification by scourging oneself.” That’s really what I need; a whip suitable for self-flagellation and the willingness to use it.

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I ordered groceries online yesterday for pickup today from Brookshire’s; my first online order from that store. I received a text message this morning from the assigned shopper, Jade, asking me whether she could substitute an item and whether I qualify for a senior discount. It’s a nice touch, having the shopper responsible for my order getting in touch. I did not really need to order groceries, but I decided to give the store a try. Plus, placing the order gave me another excuse for steering clear of my critical, time-dependent obligations.

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Enough, John. Time to get back to your obligations.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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Please talk to me about what I've written. I get lonely when I'm the only one saying anything.

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