CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter –
On Wednesday mornings I have coffee at Crumble Bakery and Coffee House with The Crumble Bums. Crumble has a deal where you put your phone # into their iPad whenever you buy a cup of coffee, and when you get to ten, you get a free cup. So when I got to ten, I exulted over my success. The woman behind me was surprised, and a bit scornful. “You feel successful for getting a free cup of coffee?”
Well, yes, at my age, that is as successful as I’m going to get. But rather than explain that to her, I decided to put her on a list.
That’s how I have always disposed of and controlled things, listing them. But now I’m old enough to give up lists.
I have kept a list of the books I’ve read for around 50 years. Now I am giving up making lists of books. If I forget I read a book, I can enjoy it again.
Too bad I didn’t connect giving up lists with Lent; I could have done two things at once
Listophile does not seem to be listed in any of the lists of mental illnesses so I started to make a list of all the lists it’s not on but should be. Then I remembered…
Lists are different from listicles. I’ve never been a listicle maker. The 7 Habits of Really Annoying People. The 11 Best Ways to Force People to Love Jesus. The 6 Most Amazing Lists of All Time.
I started making lists when I was class president and school newspaper editor in high school. Those kinds of lists are useful. They help you remember what you need to do. Now I have nothing I need or want to do, so why make lists?
Lists are because we are afraid we shall forget something. When I die, there will be nothing left to remember, so no need for a list.
My last list is titled: How To Get Ready To Die. The first thing on it is, stop making lists.
John Robert McFarland
“All we ask [in old age] is to be allowed to remain the authors of our own story.” Atul Gawande, Being Mortal, p. 140.