How often is it that a day doesn't turn out quite like we expect it to? I awoke yesterday morning at 5:30 AM and listened hard. Thunder and rain on a day that was supposed to be 90 degrees. Thunder and rain on a day that had me at Green Bluff at 7 AM picking strawberries to avoid the heat. Heck, it's a Saturday! If I don't have to get out of bed at 6:30 AM, I won't. I woke up again at 7 AM to make sure it was still raining. It was, so I stayed in bed reading blogs at Her.meneutics on my Kindle for another hour. I was up at Knapp's Farm a little after 9 AM. From the bluff, I had a magnificent view of the surrounding hills as I picked strawberries. Sun occasionally beamed down on us hard-core strawberry pickers, braving the weather's caprice, but on the horizon lightning lit the sky and thunder roared.
Strawberries are hard to pick, so the $20 I had saved of my grocery budget--precious money--was still at $14.50 after I paid for my strawberries. I had a respectable number of strawberries, too, for picking them by myself and often being distracted by the lightning and funny little kids around me. I made a stop at another Green Bluff farm and while I was in the building, it started to rain steadily. I was so thankful I had caught the hour and a half of sun in the day and felt sorry for those who had just arrived at Green Bluff. My flat of strawberries became even more precious.
I drove back into town and took advantage of the cooler weather by fertilizing my garden. It rained lightly while I was out in my garden, and I loved it. The rain was my friend as I got down at eye level with my plants and got to see the emerging green globes of tomatoes, unfurling broad leaves of beans and feathery foliage of seashell cosmos. When I had finished working in my garden, Dottie, ever gracious, unwittingly fed me a lunch of tea, buttermilk muffins with strawberry jam, and shortbread. We sat inside with all the windows open and listened to the merry hum of rain.
How pleasant it is to sit together with no deadline and no agenda but to enjoy conversation and the funny turn of the weather. The conversation--hardly anything more than talking over the week behind us and looking forward to the weeks ahead--was as refreshing to me as the rain is to a thirsty ground. I realized, too, that I had no agenda for my strawberries. My only two goals for them were 1) to crush up two cups for jam, and 2) enjoy them.
Agendas and plans and schedules can only go so far, unlike the control-freak nature of my personality would like me to believe. The weekends are refreshing to me because my time isn't dictated by routine and schedules like it is during the week. I love routine, but the un-ending wake-up, go to work, work, come home from work, unpack lunch, pack lunch, do stuff after work, what-it's-bedtime-already? routine was wearing on me this week in particular. The antidote is a Saturday of flexibility and unconcern for the amount of time it takes me to do a task. I planned to finish picking strawberries by 11 AM. I filled my box by 10:30 AM. Great! I used the extra time to drive the long way through Green Bluff. It's not hot like I thought it would be? Great! I spent time in my garden. It's lunchtime, and I'm eating chocolate covered shortbread? Great! Who needs a well-planned and neatly Tupperwared lunch anyway? I have money left in my grocery budget? Great! I bought expensive New York steaks at Egger's for a meal with my parents in July. I like to take the weekend days as they come, to form the agenda moment by moment.
I think we learn in Scripture that the Kingdom of God is about a different agenda than we humans expect. And because of this, I need to learn something from the mistakes of the stubborn, agenda-pursuing Pharisees and their frequent misunderstanding of Jesus' heavenly agenda. Jesus isn't conquering the Romans. But he is freeing captives from bondage to sin. Jesus isn't exalting the Jewish people. But he is humbly pointing us to the only one who deserves to be exalted. Jesus isn't restoring the temple to its former grandeur. But he is restoring broken humanity to the quiet grandeur of intimacy with God.
So maybe it's not so much that I need to be free from having an agenda. Rather, whether it's a week-day agenda or a weekend lack thereof, I need to be aware of when God's agenda and mine conflict. And when that happens, Lord, give me the grace to abandon my agenda for yours.