checklist-2042579_1920How orderly the empty boxes wait
Aligned along the margin, the sure
Sign of a new day—an empty slate
For marking “X”s, or checks if you prefer.
Who can imagine what lingers there
For a pastor to accomplish by end of day?
It is a strange job we are called to do:
To read and write and call and care;
To plan and preach and post and pray;
To attend to details yet keep the longer view.

We could feel overwhelmed, and yet
The boxes are there to keep us sane,
To receive a check for each task we’ve set–
No distinction between profound and mundane.
_Dig doll out of sump pump
_Chip ice off of sidewalk
_Burn palms for Ash Wednesday
_Check traps for skunk
_Choose color for caulk
_Remember to pray

_Mop up the water from failing sump pump
_Fire sound system volunteer who can’t hear well
_Get into full recycling bin—and jump!
_Answer the question: “What is that smell?”
_Fix peace lamp
_Write sermon
_Visit the sick
­_Buy new amp
_Catch vermin
_Trim candle wicks

_Clean up guano from bats in the church
_Explain you were burning palm leaves, not smoking weed
_Need taco truck—go on a search
_Calculate how many teenagers ten pizzas will feed
_Move chairs
_Get yelled at
_Call plumber
_Decide what to wear
_Get new entry mat
_Plan summer

A day in the life. Let’s stop and take stock.
Then thank God for our lists, and for every checked box.

*A special thanks to my fellow Inclusive Mennonite Pastors who provided most of the items on this to-do list.

Rev. Joanna Harader moves chairs, trims candle wicks, and writes sermons at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS. (Where there are, thankfully, no bats in residence.) Her blog is

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