For me the first important decision of any new year involves the purchase of a rather small but important item: a daily planner. Every year this is a careful, deliberate decision. Since I will be using it for 365 days, it needs to be designed in such a way that it is functional, but at the same time, have a visual appeal as well as a ‘fun-factor’.
I have had the standard black daily planners handed out by different places of employment. Practical but not pretty. One year I had a Norman Rockwell calendar that featured 52 different paintings. Fun, but the glossy finish on the pages made for messy erasures. Last year I had a cute red and white polka-dotted calendar. That one was a winner: inside pockets to hold stray odds and ends, easy to erase paper, both weekly and monthly pages, and of course, the fun factor.
My daily planners have been purchased in different places; museums, stationery stores, book stores, department stores. The price has ranged from $5.95 for a simple paper calendar, to $25.95 for a leather one.
The purchase of this year’s calendar was notable because I bought it in Texas. In early December Emmanuel and I were in San Antonio for the NCAA Division III soccer championships. When a free afternoon beckoned, we decided to take a drive outside the city to see the surrounding countryside. Heading northwest out of San Antonio we soon saw a sign for “Bandera, Cowboy Capital of the World”. For transplanted Midwesterners, now living in New England, that sounded mighty intriguing so off we went.
The heart of Bandera consisted of a single run-down street that was pretty much deserted when we arrived that afternoon. We kept our eyes peeled but didn’t spot a single cowboy, and certainly didn’t see any horses tied to the hitching posts. We tried to get excited about the ‘beautiful’ Medina River, but quickly realized we were only fooling ourselves. It was time to leave and we moseyed on out-of-town.
On the way back to San Antonio we stopped to eat in the town of Boerne. It was there that we felt like we were in Texas. At Fritze’s BBQ, a family owned eatery, the food was tasty, plentiful and cheap. The place seemed to be filled with regulars, many of whom were wearing cowboy boots, even the businessmen in suits. We actually saw someone wearing a real cowboy hat without intending it to be a fashion statement. We felt as though we were truly ‘deep in the heart of Texas’.
After lunch, while visiting many of the little shops in downtown Boerne, we came across a gift store that sold calendars. It was the red-headed shopkeeper who made that store memorable. A gregarious woman, she felt comfortable loudly expounding her political views in front of God and customer. She loudly proclaimed her approval of George W. Bush, and her disdain for Obamacare. Emmanuel and I exchanged glances. Our eyes flashed each other the message “We are not in Massachusetts anymore.” I think I know how Dorothy felt as she first looked around Munchkinland. Surreal.
However, the interesting conversation kept me poking around the store, and so it was there that I found my daily planner for 2011. Light brown leather, weekly and monthly pages, address book, selections from The Daily Bread, and a plan to read through the Bible in the year. Success!
Why is the perfect calendar so important? What is it about those clean, empty pages that I find so fascinating? The potential possibilities for each day? The anticipation of unexpected treasures? The sobering realization that tragedy can strike? Yes, all of these things, but also the hope that using this tool will help me have a more orderly and fruitful life. The knowledge that at the end of the year I will look back through my calendar and see a snapshot of my life for the past 365 days makes me long to use my time wisely.
Ephesians 5:15, 16 advises us, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
The things we write on the pages of our daily planners are a reflection of our priorities, a picture of what is important to us. In 2011 I want my daily calendar to reflect that I am a daughter of the King, and that the things that matter to Him, are the things that matter to me.
A daughter of the King. Anticipation indeed.