Not long ago someone asked me: "How many sermons have you preached?"
"Offhand," I responded, "I don't know." But the question intrigued me and so I set off on a hunt through my files, my history, and my shoddy memory to arrive at a number. However, I quickly bumped up against some roadblocks. Words--and their creation--are indeed elusive commodities.
My search for sermon fodder also took me on other side trips through the far country of word-land, and before I knew it, I was making lists and columns and screaming at my wife: "Where's the calculator?"
(She reminded me that I have one on my cell phone and another on the computer I'm using right now . . . but again, I forget these things. I'm still hunting for the slide rule I used in high school and I nearly flunked calculus.)
Nevertheless, I did eventually arrive at some neatly crafted columns. I'm not sure what these numbers say about me, but I do know that they represent a huge portion of my life--a life spent, often, crafting these things early in the morning or late at night. I cannot begin to estimate the hours represented by them . . . but here they are:
1700 sermons written
3000+ sermons preached
30+ books published
100+ books written
700+ published essays/stories
125 published poems
500+ poems written
As far as other stats go, these might be of interest to some:
5 (number of sermons my wife said were "good")
1000+ (number of times my wife has heard me preach)
2 (number of my books my wife has read)
0 (number of my short stories my wife has read)
0 (number of my books my son has read)
0 (number of my books my son says he will read someday)
0 (number of my books I have read after publication)
12 (number of sermons my parents have heard me preach)
1000+ (number of blog posts I have written)
0 (number of my blog posts my wife has read)
300+ (number of romantic poems written to my wife)
7 (number of romantic poems my wife says are "good")
0 (number of my love poems that produced "results")
As you can see, living life by the numbers is no fun. I'm not a mathematician. I'm not an engineer. I'm not even an author. I'm a writer.
But every time I do the numbers, life doesn't add up.