It was my most prolific of writing days. I had woken up early morning to write. Though I usually go to sleep early with intentions of waking ere dawn, most mornings finds me safely wrapped in my quilt, way after the sun has put light into the world. This morning was different. I managed to rouse myself just as the morning star cracked the night.
I made coffee and promptly sat down, which was another outstanding breakthrough for me. Usually I find something to read, some chore to finish, some dishes to wash…anything to get me from working. But on that fateful day, I was motivated enough to head straight to my task.
I turned on the computer. Placed my fingers on the keyboard. My muse roared to life. My fingers did their dance on the keyboard as thought after thought poured out of my brain cells and found their way to my keyboard. I stared out the window at the gradually lightening world, as I allowed my brain to roam horizons of its own just as my eyes roamed that pastel-hued sky.
Now you have to understand that I’m a prolific typist—over 100 words per minute. It’s a blessing to be able to feel the dance of my fingers keeping up with the flow of my thoughts. In fact, I type faster than I write and as fast as I speak – and speak fast is something I’m good at doing. That’s why on that day, as my thoughts whorled like eddies in a stream, my fingers were flying all over the keyboard.
When the sun had come up with its full brilliance, my eyes blinked and I turned away from the vast expanse of sky-view and looked down at my computer. That is when I saw my prolific writing. It read: “in yhr motninh ehrn yhr dun id vominh up, yhrn yhr eholr eotllf id gillrf eiyh yhr joy og yhr momrny.”
That was just for the first line of awe-inspiring text. It went on and on, pages of such nonsense. I had placed the fingers of my left hand one key over on the keyboard. I had pages and pages of utter drivel interspersed with occasional actual words. The words which made sense were those requiring the typing of only the right hand, words such as joy. However, although those words made sense on their own, within the mass of drivel on each side of them, they had no context whatsoever.
Ah, life, with its lessons. How many times did I forge ahead with life, thinking I was putting forth brilliance, only to find out I was typing on the wrong keyboard, or even worse, on an unplugged one.
Many years ago, Ruth the convert came to Israel. With no food for her or her mother-in-law, Ruth knew action was required. She promptly headed out to the fields in the countryside, intent on collecting the “poor man’s share” of crop Jewish law required each field owner to set aside. Ruth ended up in the field of the Jewish leader, Boaz.
With refinement and with careful consideration to Jewish law, Ruth gathered food to feed herself and her mother-in-law. Boaz happened to see her and was impressed. He walked over, introduced himself, and then said to her, “my daughter, don’t collect in other fields.” Boaz was being literal, but was also conveying a more profound coded message for Ruth. If she was going to put effort into her life, he wanted her to “collect in the right fields.” Boaz would have had to tell me to put my fingers on the right keys for me to get it.
Life is not an easy street for anyone. Living, loving (and even laughing) requires effort. If we are going to go through the efforts of living, may as well make sure we have our fingers on the right keys as we do so. One key off, and all we have lived might be mere drivel.
I’ve learned to glance down every now and then at my keyboard, look up every now and then at my computer screen, to make sure my fingers are squarely where they should be when I type. I’ve learned to do the same with my life, every now and then take quick stock to make sure all my efforts are in the right places. I’ve found out that being even one key off turns effort into waste. Fingers squarely on the right keys, that’s the only way to type with meaning. Days anchored in truth, that’s the only way to live life with meaning.