Sometimes, you hear the Voice of God in unexpected places. Like Sunday school, for example.
The sample above will give you the flavor of the piece — which I’d never heard before — but may not capture message of the lyrics. From the first verse:
I’ve got it all, but I feel so deprived.
I go up, I come down, and I’m emptier inside.
Tell me what is this thing that I feel like I’m missing,
And why can’t I let it go?
There’s gotta be more to life
Than chasing down every temporary high
To satisfy me, ’cause the more that I’m
Tripping out, thinkin’ there must be more to life
Well, there’s life, but I’m sure there’s gotta be more
Than wanting more.
You could teach an entire Sunday school lesson (and a seminar on one of Buddhism’s basic tenets, too) right outta that latter-day Scripture. But the lyric that smacked me square in the jaw, like a punch from a Divine fist, was this line:
I’ve got the time … and I’m wasting it slowly.
Those words threw a harsh spotlight on the state of my work as a writer. I’ve got an hour per morning, every morning, to dedicate exclusively to a writing project. Other opportunities for writing abound: during my lunch hour, during my walk home (via dictation — I’m not scribbling in a pad while dodging traffic on Peachtree Street), during the weekends. So: I’ve got the time …
… and I’m wasting it slowly. Instead of pouring words on the page, I catch myself investing inordinate amounts of time chasing rabbits. Which is the right environment for me to be writing in: Google Docs (which is accessible from anywhere on the planet with Internet access) or Scrivener (which has a lot of features for writers that you can’t get anywhere else)? Which back-up solution — Jungle Disk or Backblaze — is best for protecting my precious works in progress (which, because I’ve gotten sidetracked by this question, are no longer “in progress”)?
The rabbit holes are one thing. In fact, they’re almost noble diversions compared to the most low-brow time-waster of all: random Internet browsing. I always begin with the best of intentions. How, exactly, do you spell “Afghanistan?” Ah. And, come to think of it, what does that suffix — istan — as in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Kazakhstan, mean? And how many Marines are deployed in Afghanistan? And what is Afghan cuisine like? And how does that compare to the food in Iran?
Google, I hate you. (No, that’s not true. I love Google. But the next Google Labs app needs to be a search timer that cuts me off after two minutes of clicking links.)
But I digress.
So: out of the blue this past Sunday morning, here comes this Fazenbaker guy with a song lyric that speaks to me with all the clarity of Holy Writ: I’ve got the time … and I’m wasting it slowly. Yes, yes I do … and yes, yes I am. Hearing those words was like getting a bucket of liquid reality tossed squarely in my face.
I went home an wrote that very afternoon. And I wrote Monday morning. And I wrote Tuesday morning. And because I honored my personal writing obligations, I was happier and more productive all day long. And I’m not frustrated by my rate of progress, because, you see, slow progress is still progress … and slow progress beats no progress at all.
So: thank you, Steve Fazenbaker for bringing this song to my attention. Thank you, Suzie Orrico, for singing the song. Thank you, Damon Thomas, Sabelle breer, Kevin Kadish, Lucy Woodward, and Harvey Mason, Jr. for allowing yourself to be scribes for the wisdom of God/Buddha/The Universe.
For the past few days, I’ve been given the gift of time … and I’m using it productively.
How about you?