Holiness in our Midst: Session 113

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: What is on your “done list” for today? Last week? Last year?

Lately, I’ve been under the influence of the book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). Its premise, stated on the jacket flap, is clear: “The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.”

The above question is inspired by one of the “Ten Tools to Embrace Your Finitude” explained in the final chapter. Tool Number Four reads: “Focus on what you have already completed, not just on what’s left to complete.” Burkeman suggests keeping a “done list” rather than a “to do” list (p. 239). That idea of tracking accomplishments has caught hold in my life. The “to do” list is not a thing of my past, but its tyrannical hold has lessened. A newfound consciousness of my days being numbered has even infiltrated my prayer life. I now ask God how I can approach each day with more reverence.

To answer the Story Circle Prompt: On my “done list” for this day (Jan. 27, 2022) is the note: “Kept up by phone with sisters Janet and Jill.” Last week I cleaned my house, served almost 300 meals to residents in assisted living and finally wrote my Christmas thank you notes. Last year, I entered a three-year spiritual formation course of study called Prairiefire, offered through the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center; wrote a series for the Ames (IA) Tribune, which I informally call my Coronavirus Chronicles; and savored significant friendships.  

What is on your “done list?”


  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the following: What is on my done list” for last year? How can I build on these accomplishments as I plan this year? How can I approach my days with more reverence?


 1.   Read aloud Session CXIII.

  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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