by Cynthia Ruchti

I almost dusted today. Almost vacuumed yesterday. But my deadline for a book releasing next summer is Thursday. So…

I resisted.

Whew. That was a close one.

I’ve walked past many projects–filing, painting the stool the grandkids use, having lunch with friends, putting clean sheets on the beds in the guest room (they’re clean, they just need to be put ON the beds)–because of the deadline. I’m focused. Determined. Researching details. Tweaking. And yes, still writing chapters. Dusting? It’s going to have to wait a few more days.

When an acquaintance said “We should meet for coffee” in June, I said, “How about August?” She knew I wasn’t kidding. We’re only a few days away from that long-awaited get-together. And no, I’m not that much of a slug, avoiding friendships and putting a deadline above relationships. Not always. Travel took me away from home several of the weeks in between. The book I’m working on had a long ways to go in July. My job ramped up in that same time period. And I wanted to use our coffee together as a celebration that I’d made it.

And I have managed to brush my teeth, shower, have the grandkids over, serve at church, make homemade meals more nights than not, encourage others, write blog posts…

But today, I couldn’t help but smile…then cringe…over what a deadline can do to a person.

The harsh winter meant that our blueberry crop this summer is suffering. The snow level was so high, the bunnies walked on water–frozen water–to reach the bushes and chewed them down to nubbins. The bushes will bounce back, but the many quarts of blueberries we harvested last summer are small handfuls this year.

In one of my too-rare breaks from the Deadline Computer, I took a short walk outside to see if any blueberries had ripened in the last couple of days. There between scanty bushes, a snake sunned himself. Inches from me.

I checked for ripe blueberries, then turned back toward the house, calling to it over my shoulder. “Yeah, whatever. I’m on deadline.”

No time for snake wrangling. No time for caring that a snake was in my garden.


Was Eve on a self-imposed deadline when she sauntered past the blueberries, beets, or beans in Eden, unconcerned that there was a snake in her garden?

I’m willing to bypass dusting and vacuuming and defrosting the freezers when my deadline is so near. But I can’t afford to ignore a snake of discontent, or a relationship glitch slithering its way into my home. I don’t dare ignore a foul attitude or neglect vital tasks, like filling my soul with God’s Word so I can write about God’s purposes and with God’s passion.

“More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it,” Proverbs 4:23 CEB.

Until Thursday, and beyond, I’ll remain focused on the goal, but not allow myself to become cavalier toward things that slither into relationships or my spiritual health. Too much at stake.

Anything strike you–pardon the pun–in these ponderings?

Cynthia Ruchti is an award-winning author of nine books, including When the Morning Glory Blooms, All My Belongings, and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices. She tells stores of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. She and her husband of 42 years live in the heart of Wisconsin. www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage