Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Feb. 8, 2008
"Now is the time to resolve all unfinished business."
The Chinese fortune cookie's message was innocent enough, but I found myself laughing hysterically.
ALL unfinished business? I can barely get one thing finished, let alone resolve ALL unfinished ones!
I thought about the stacks of unpaid bills, unwritten notes, un-sent birthday cards and tax forms beckoning from where I set them, newspapers strewn on the living room floor and piled-up recyclables in the garage.
Then there are the mid-stream items at work - class lectures to prepare, multiple assignments to grade, paperwork to complete, our department's annual end-of-the-year banquet to plan, scholarship applications to evaluate . . .
And besides those routine tasks, there are things I'd like to do soon - especially organize my family history enough to put together a booklet for my older relatives before they die.
Until a few weeks ago, I made the bed every day, feeling that if I did that, I could point to at least one task that I completed. Now, more often than not, I come home to rumpled bed covers.
I could lay the blame on my busy schedule combined with my family members' busy schedules. Just this past week, youngest daughter Katie had three basketball games. Each game day, I rushed home from work, picked up the mail and newspaper, changed into comfortable clothes and zipped over to the school.
But perhaps it was always thus. About 10 years ago, I found the sewing basket that my Grandma Ethel kept beside her living room chair. Inside the basket were needles, a thimble and various spools of thread. But there was also a partially-completed project stretched across an embroidery hoop with a threaded needle stuck in it.
And I found other projects that she had started but not completed. One was a strip of four quilt blocks, each of which had a pattern of three pink tulips in a green basket. I couldn't decide what to do with the blocks. I thought about making a wall hanging. Then I decided to cut the blocks apart and I had a friend make four pillows - one each for our daughters and my sister's two daughters. I thought it would be a good way to pick up the threads from a previous generation and bring them forward.
And I suppose researching family history is also a matter of picking up threads from previous generations and bringing them forward. Perhaps one day our daughters or future generations will continue piecing together the information we've gathered.
So maybe I should just admit to the fact that I'm getting older and can't multi-task like I used to. And perhaps this is a good wake-up call. No matter how well-intentioned we are in getting everything done on our to-do list, there are times we just need to make peace with the fact that we can't - and that's OK!
So will I resolve all unfinished business? I don't think so. And that's probably the way it was meant to be - one generation picking up the loose ends from the previous generation and tying up at least a few of them.