Tuesday, December 06, 2011

the little


It is nearing the end of the term and I have finally finished all my classes and completed all my teaching assistant obligations.  Phew!  However, I still have two major papers to hand in and due to early vacation dates this year, I only have 9 days left to complete them.  At this point, one of them is about half done and the other one is still in the embryo stage.  These are 20-page research papers that need to reflect a doctoral level of knowledge of and engagement with the topics I have chosen.  I am not a fast writer in the first place (it usually takes me at least an hour to write one of these blogs because the initial ideas are rough and require thoughtful editing and expansion), but the extra care with which I am writing these essays means that an already slow process is even slower.  And around this time there are a lot of activities going on (parties), meetings that I have to plan and attend, not to mention Christmas preparations, and - oh yes - random house guests that contact me at the last minute and want to spend a few nights! 

If I do the calculations, based on my current writing speed, it seems obvious that I will run out of days before I get all the words on paper.  What do I do?  Skip all the Christmas parties?  Neglect friends and family and Christmas preparations?  Work late into the night every night?  Start drinking Red Bull?  Panic? 

This morning I was understandably feeling a bit overwhelmed about the amount of work to be completed in the next week and a half.  The reading today was from 2 Kings 4.  It is the story of a widow in debt.  In such a great debt that they are threatening to come and take her children from her to sell them as slaves.  She called Elisha the prophet of God to help her.  He asks her, "What do you have?"  She replies, "Nothing.  I have nothing."  Small pause.  "Well, I have a little oil."  So Elisha tells her to gather all the jars she can from friends and neighbours and start pouring.  She does what he tells her to do and the oil just keeps coming until every last jar is full and then it stops.  The money from selling all the oil was enough to pay her debts and support her family for the foreseeable future.

So the question is, "What do I have?"  Well, I have a little bit of time.  I have a little idea of what I want to say.  I have a little research done.  I have a little bit written.  Lots of "littles."  But that seems to be enough in God's economy. I will take what little I have and starting pouring it into my essays and not stop until the last page is done. 

the photo: a little bit of olive oil I have in my cupboard.

3 comments:

Shelley said...

great thoughts Matte...and I am pretty sure your plan will work. I have found God to be just as faithful to provide time as he is with money. :)

Matte Downey said...

thanks for the encouragement, Shelley.

Lori said...

Like we say in french: petit train va loin. Keep taking the small steps, don't be distracted or discouraged and it will all get done.