Upon returning home from a trip, deadlines glared at me, as if with a sneer: “You can’t handle us! Ha….” I felt inner tension rising. The impending deadline is a normal, but unpleasant, part of life for many of us in the world of work.
For me this week, there are a couple of time-sensitive matters still unresolved, and two deadlines were met, and one was graciously extended. Sometimes I bring more than the necessary amount of consternation into my soul by thinking about the deadlines–wondering whether I can meet them, when I can meet them, what I will need to ignore in order to meet them, and which situations can be delegated or can have their time frames extended. This is called “fretting,” and I do it. Something about lilies/grass of the field and birds of the air yodels to me (how’s that for a pastoral, mood-lightening verb to accompany the grass and birds motif?) through the centuries, and I begin to feel guilty for my worry.
Sometimes, worry is not much more than thinking and figuring, and sometimes, it’s “justified.” Sure, people miss their flights sometimes. And sometimes we have to accept negative consequences for missing a coupon expiration date or a financial or process deadline at work. But most of the worry ends up being unnecessary. Most of the fretting is a futile workout of the brain, if not the heart and soul. “Which of you can add a cubit to his height by worrying?”
I know that worry isn’t helpful often, if ever, and yet I do worry. Oh, that I could channel my worry into more important areas.
Next: spiritual deadlines (but for now, I’m heading back to the office to deal with the completely temporal ones)