Monday, February 21, 2005

taking stock

I don’t know whether it’s a recent funeral or all the birthdays celebrated in the last little while, but my thoughts have lately gone to the brevity of life. Not in a macabre way, but more in an urgency, check-up-on-myself way. I think this focus also has to do with other changes I’ve experienced.

My kids (at 19 and almost 22) don’t monopolize my time and attention like they used to. A few years ago I simplified my job by working for only one client instead of several. And when my husband a year ago and took over some of my housework jobs, I suddenly found myself free to do what I’d always dreamed of doing - actually writing for a chunk of time every day. I expected that when this happened the projects I'd always hoped to complete would somehow start coming to pass. It hasn’t been like that.

Instead, I've experienced the fact that just because you have some time to write doesn't mean you'll spend it doing the hard stuff...getting those ideas, writing those first drafts, sending out those manuscripts. Lately the cold breeze of reality has blown across my life as I consider what I’ll probably get done if I carry on at the same pace. I've become more realistic and sober in what I fantasize I’ll accomplish. To grapple with this sense of time slipping away I’ve started asking myself questions like:

  • What, of all the things I’d like to do, will I, at the end of my life, feel disappointed if I haven’t achieved?
  • If I knew I could do just one or two or three more projects, what would they be?
  • How will I account to God for the talents, opportunities and assignments I’ve been given?

Now I’m not sick, and I am expecting to live a good many years yet. But at the same time, I’m becoming more aware of how easy it is to procrastinate and fritter away hours and days. When I look back over recent weeks and months with my list of sensed assignments and ‘must dos’ in mind, and see what little I have to show for time spent, I realize it’s a good thing to take stock.

The grass withers, the flower fades beneath the breath of God. And so it is with fragile man. The grass withers, the flower fade, but the Word of our God shall stand forever. Isa.40:7,8 (TLB)

What, after all, is your life? It is like a puff of smoke visible for a little while and then dissolving into thin air." James 4:14 (Phillips)

"...our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon, without a trace." I Chronicles 29:15 (TLB)


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