The Bright Side: In between the lines

Published 7:49 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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A little fun fact about me is I really like to make lists. It must have been a habit I picked up from my mom; she and her index cards were never far apart from one another. Whenever we would go to the Dollar Tree for school supplies or greeting cards, my mom would pick up a pack of 100 lined index cards and ball point blue ink pens. She would sit at our kitchen table on Sunday afternoons and write down her to-dos for the week, categorized by Monday through Saturday. Then she would pull out another index card from the pack and write down a grocery list, then a shopping list for non-grocery store essentials. She would keep these lists in her purse or on our kitchen island and quite frequently we would hear: “Has anyone seen my lists?”

List-making was more of a personality trait for my mother, and I guess you could say it’s genetic, because now my to-do list is never too far away from my office desk, and my Notes App is full of lists: grocery store lists, Walmart essentials, gift ideas, scripture verses, book recommendations … you get the picture.

I often think about why I feel the need to make a list for everything. My memory is pretty healthy, given the fact that I have trained my brain how to memorize things fairly well thanks to vocabulary flashcards and extensive high school note-taking. There are the occasional tasks that slip through the cracks of my memory for a few days, but I always seem to circle back.

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I’ve come to find that lists keep me in check and ensure my responsibility and obligations. They remind me that I have purpose and that there are people who rely on me to fulfill specific duties. However, in all honesty, lists stress me out. Sometimes I look at the full page of agenda items sitting to the left of my laptop and can physically feel my heartbeat increase. Is there even enough time in the world to accomplish all I’ve set out to do in a week? Most days, I’m not so sure.

It’s hard to explain why I keep turning to a new page every Monday morning to scribble down to-dos that have either carried over from the prior week or are fresh off the press. In some weird way, my never-ending lists of life keep me going. They help me focus on tangible goals that, for the most part, have no concrete timeline. My lists remind me that there is life to be lived, things to do, memories to make and a whole world of options out there to choose from either today, tomorrow and beyond.

I started adding a little footer to my weekly to-do lists. This is a super special reminder, to help me stop in the midst of my list and see what is happening in between the lines and bullet points. To anyone who is a list-taker like me, this one’s a game-changer. Right at the bottom of my page, I have the words “Answered prayers” written with a colon. I’ve been tallying how many of my prayers are answered throughout a week, because it’s so easy to get caught up in what’s to come that miss what is actually getting us there.

I started this new addition to my to-dos on Monday. It’s Tuesday, and I already have five tally marks. God is good all the time; all the time, God is good.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at