Thursday, July 2, 2009


Cara is a fan of The West Wing and is gradually watching her way through the various episodes.

Presently, she's in Season 3. During the episode she was watching last night, I heard the following exchange between Toby Ziegler and newly-named U.S. poet laureate, Tabatha Fortis.

Tabatha: I like crossing off lists - it's very satisfying. You like lists?

Toby: Yes.

Tabatha: You like crossing things off?

Toby: I'll let you know if it happens.

Later in the evening I finished a short-ish book by Tim Keller, The Prodigal God.

It's nice to finish things.

It's gratifying to cross things off. Sometimes when I have a lot of tasks to do in a day, I write a list. I cross them off as I go. Occasionally, I remember things I've already done, and add them to the list, then cross them off immediately. (Okay, that's just a little too obsessive, I know.)

Finishing things is gratifying. But what about starting things?

A friend said to me recently that his gift isn't in finishing things; it's in starting them. For him, starting things is gratifying. Seeing others build on them is also gratifying. When I look at how he's wired, and what he's contributed to over the years, it makes sense.

I guess there is a gratification that comes with completing something, and a gratification that comes with starting something as well. But what about the middle bit?

No comments: