Desk Calendar

This morning I cleared the litter on my desk into a carton and labeled it “Miscellaneous, 1961.” On the empty expanse of varnished oak I arranged my clock, lamp, and desk calendar. A new year is before me.

It begins with a brief interlude between holidays, conferences, conventions, and convocations; let us call it Winter Work Week. For a few short days we are out of Seasons. Barring blizzards, flu, and missiles, this is the season for getting the year’s work done.

First, to plan the week.

An engagement calendar is fascinating: square, regular pages, crisp and clean. It suggests days both ordered and open. Looking at the pile of fresh pages, I am ready to believe the formula for success: Plan your work and work your plan. The book offers no resistance as I plot a balanced pattern of achievement. Marshalled hours conquer the whole docket of unfinished business, with a reserve of leisure left for mopping up—triumph of intelligent planning.

Of course, it won’t work. Days aren’t like pages. They are lumpy and twisted. They recall the rueful warning of that bogus barbershop ballad: “Don’t go out in the wheatfield, mother; you’ll run against the grain.”

In short, the days are evil. But good or bad, they are measured better by heart beats than by clock ticks. Which brings me back to seasons. Commercialized holidays exploit the seasons of life, seasons we all know. The farmers’ almanac is more true to life than an executive’s desk book. The tides of our lives never rest. Days rush in with thunder, or ebb out in silence.

All the seasons God has set in his own power. The rainbow of his promise arches over every one. The cycles of nature, history, or my life are not meaningless. In the fullness of time the Lord of glory entered ...

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