self-scheduling, work, desire

It’s a Saturday morning in Evanston, IL. M has gone to try out the Men’s Breakfast at the church where we’ve been worshiping, so it’s extremely quiet. The sky outside is white-overcast, making the light through the windows more diffuse even as the courtyard for our apartment block generally confines what comes into the apartment itself.

I’ve been drinking coffee, reading various newspapers on my tablet, contemplating the unusual timing of having finished my weekly philosophy/hermeneutics book by Friday evening. More accurately, I’m contemplating writing the weekly paper that goes with the weekly book, the paper which is due each Monday at noon. This due-ness has, more than any other thing, disrupted my commitment to weekend, or even Sabbath-rest. I resent it. I am weary of it. I have this one and two more. Presumably my future courses will shape up much like the other courses I’ve taken in the past three semesters: two, maybe three, big assignments plus consistent class participation. As is the proper shape for graduate classes! she laughs.

Still, the work remains for now. The desire is flickering, but gathering into a more steady (though small) light.


When I became ‘writing primary,’ I grappled with this dilemma in — for me — its most intense form: when there are no external reasons to tackle the work, what stands in the way of never doing it? It is harder, I think, than many people realize to operate only from internal motivation, to work out of unassisted desire. Though perhaps not; there’s a large cohort of “I only work at the deadline!” folk around. That’s certainly highly-assisted desire. That’s not for me; pressing against the risk of missing the deadline makes me ill.

Anyway, today I have the intermediate form. I manage my own time, but certain work has to be accomplished by certain deadlines. From earlier weeks, when I was unable to finish reading the book of the week until sometime during the weekend, I know I can start as late as Sunday evening and keep an hour’s cushion. I also know that, for that particular week, I worked each day… enough time and labor to feel that there was no break, except for Sunday morning. As I noted, not my preference.


It’s funny to me how central desire is to all of this.
(Speaking of desire, M has returned with morning buns! Be back in a bit.)


In some ways, I seem to have burned away any “I have to; I’m publicly committed” energy I might once have had, holding instead a bowl of “that’s between me and God.” When I started this semester — the one where I’ve reached my goal from 2018! where I’m really truly launched as a PhD student in Christian education! — I kept having moments where I thought, “Why am I even here?”

Why not be in my own home? Why not putter along, back in my previous ‘writing primary’ habits? I could just… walk away. And the ripples of my wading back would smooth out across life’s pond such that no one would remember that I’d even waded out in the first place. Really. We are each important, sure, and we are less noticeable than we might wish.

Unlike last year, when my school-desire flamed high right next to my grief over Mom’s dying, this year I could only muster the dusty impetus of momentum. We’d already moved in. Garrett had claimed me, affirmed my potential with tuition funds and formal connections. Surely it would be wasteful to simply dismiss Garrett’s vote, M’s labor, in the middle of my dust. Plus I do enjoy school, much more than the wide-open freedom of my 2021-2022 Year of Waiting.

So I’m here on a Saturday, writing my own musings, because at one point that connected me with my desires. Gathering the little flames — of caring for my immediate future, of closing the open loop in my brain, even of finding out what I think of this particular book — into a steady burn. Trying to bring my schedule together with my desire (which fuels my energy) so that I can do the work.

And there’s still coffee, and morning buns: beautiful on their own, elevating everything they come near. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.