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May 23, 2005
It has been a long time between eMos -- several days. I was on a retreat with no Internet access. No news of the world, either. No newspaper or radio. I am far too much a citizen of the world to want to live my life that way, but this weekend we were doing other things.

I miss it when I don't write one, and feel a vague anxiety -- You are inconsistent. But people aren't as regular as clocks, and it's a mistake to expect mechanistic perfection of oneself or anybody else. We should build a certain amount of failure into every plan we make, in fact, some slack somewhere in it that will enable us to regroup quickly when something goes wrong. For it is just those times in which we get to show just how nimble we can be.

Or how patient. There are snafus from which no recovery is possible, mistakes that really do scuttle a whole project and force a return to the very beginning of a major effort. To have been responsible for one of those, squandering the work of people you care about, dashing your own hopes for it as well, is a terrible thing. A close second in awfulness is to be the manager of the guilty party, having to watch him writhe, walking the uncomfortably fine line between consoling him and requiring his accountability.

I am my own boss. This certainly ought to streamline supervision, but for a certain personality, the reverse is true. The self-employed never go off duty. We can never go home: we are home. There is always more that could be done, and what is done could always be better. You can't call yourself in sick.

For those blessed with the gift of moderation, this is an ideal situation. For those of us who range somewhat further afield, it is what my friend Brooke calls a spiritual discipline, which is church-ese for a pain in the butt.

Oh, do the best you can and then get over it. Try again tomorrow if it's not good enough. Get enough sleep and enough prayer. Get enough exercise and do one beautiful thing each day. Accept the fact that nothing is ever perfect and your work won't be, either.
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