The Done List

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

      ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV

The last few weeks, during these cold and cabin fever-inducing days of doldrums, I have struggled with wanting to get back to work; feeling like my schedule of pain management, water exercise and rest is merely frittering my life away.

I am a Type-A, task-driven, hard working man who likes my “to do” list and the satisfaction of a job well done. I was craving more than what this seemingly boring life of permanent disability offers.

And then I got some good advice from my doctor: instead of writing a “to do” list each day; write a “done” list, where I record every task I was able to do, even with my pain and discomfort. I was surprised to see the list grow so quickly with everything from getting out of bed to feeding the dog to emptying the dishwasher to creating art to writing devotionals to spending time with my family and friends; all of which make my life and the lives of those I love, better for having done them. But because they are so routine, I was discounting them; failing to deposit them into my emotional bank account, leaving me feeling empty and useless.

These are tasks I am able to have as my everyday practice because I do not have to punch a time clock or commute every day. They enrich life and fulfill my purpose for living: to encourage and minister to others. Even though my body is not hirable, I am still a vital member of American society. There will come a day when I am not here and these creative tasks unique to me will be no more. That makes everything I accomplish today even more valuable and important.

My cup of satisfaction is now full and complete. Regardless of my pain level or the weather, I am now persuaded that my life counts!

About the Author:

Pastor Greg Harvey lives in Kansas City, Kansas and manages chronic degenerative disk disease with two unsuccessful lumbar fusions and cervical degeneration. He and his wife, Dee, also disabled with RA, like helping others with chronic pain and illness. Greg’s book, “Finding God Faithful in Turbulent Times” is available and may be obtained by contacting him at