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THINGS WE CAN AND CANNOT DO
June 3, 2008
 
So many things to do and to decide. Q was unable to resist planting tomatoes which he will not be here to harvest, so we must invite our neighbors to come and pick them. And to help themselves to basil. And to eggplants. And to figs, come late August. And to flowers.

We must send our winter clothes ahead to Florence in a box.

We must stop the newspaper.

We must get an absentee ballot for the election.

I can finish my book. No, not can. Must.

I must pay our house and car insurance ahead.

I have instructed parishioners at St Luke's that none of them are to die while we are gone. And don't think I don't mean it.

So you see that some of the tasks I have set myself to do before I leave are within my power and some are not.

In the end, we all leave a little dust and a few piles of unfinished projects. Half a quart of milk and a couple of oranges. A compost pile that needs turning. Some clothes that never got donated to the thrift shop. Either someone else will complete these things or they won't. We must make our peace with the unfinished business of life. As quickly as we can, we all must get our affairs in order, which never means getting it all done. It just means getting it to a state in which we can bear to leave it.

What will happen if you fail to do this, or that? Ever? What's the worst that can happen? If the worst that can happen is something you simply cannot abide, put the task at the top of your list and quit stalling. If the worst that can happen concerns something that is important to someone else but not to you, maybe someone else should do it. If the worst that can happen concerns something you can't do anything about anyway -- if you've ordered people in your parish not to die, for instance -- set that task gently aside. If you're not sure which is which, check in with someone you can trust to tell you the truth for a reality check. There is no time to waste on things we can't do. We must focus on the things we can.
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This Sunday, June 8th: Barbara Crafton will preach and celebrate at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Staten Island, NY. 2329 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10314-6621 (718) 698-1338.
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