24 August 2012

Like a leaky balloon

You know the people who do it. These are the conversations where you reflect back moments and sometimes days later and you are still thinking about what the person said because they dug below the surface. Right. These are not simply sharing the weather conversations. These conversations prick at your soul and help shape you for your current and future journeys. The conversation on my mind today is an overall sense of time...and how it thieves away. This particular conversation my friend asked me simply to consider what kinds of things I would rather do, and, as such, to reflect on activities I engage which seem more like the mundane treadmill experiences in life.
Unfortunately, I can name oodles. In the mundane category, truly, although, these mundane experiences may have purpose, too, I spend way more time than I would care to calculate, weeding my yard. (Although, don't ask my neighbors and certainly do not tell me their responses as I would be discouraged. I fear they may observe more weeds growing then I apparently try to destroy.) I like working in my yard. I like the satisfaction of wedding and removing weeds. But the question is, at the end of my life, do I really want to be known as the person who had a great lawn, or do I want to be remembered as someone who loved and invested in people? I am picking on yardwork, of course. But it can be other things, too. How about mindlessly surfing facebook, or youtube, or pinterest, or surfing channels, or ... On their own, in intentional doses, I do not judge any of these activities. What concerns me in my own reflection is what do I really want to do, to engage in, to pursue, and be involved in? And if those things are not present as much as possible in my life, what do I need to do to make those things a priority? And perhaps people have learned to do it all -- keep the "perfect" house, satisfactorily manicure the yard, engage in appropriate recreation and fitness, invest in a "successful" career, visit family, nurture children, coach sports, cultivate a heart for God, serve the community, give time and resources to church, etc. etc. etc.--but most of us, I suspect, may struggle to balance it all, certainly to try to live up to "the standard" of where we should be in all these areas. Which leads me back to: how do I really want to spend my time before I unfortunately discover I am simply "spent?"

17 February 2012

The art and wisdom of Enzo

The words of wisdom below derive from a new canine friend- Enzo.
He is the wonderful voice and main character of the book The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I picture Enzo to look very much like my own dog, Wriley.

This passage gave me pause:

"Here is why I will be a good person.
Because I listen.
I cannot speak, so I listen very well.
I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own.
People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's conversations constantly.
It's like having a passenger in your car
who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street...

Learn to listen! I beg of you.
Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people
rather than steal their stories" (101-102).

I wonder how I will do taking Enzo's advice today?
It does ring true with some other advice you may have heard from a man named James. James said, "everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak, and slow to become angry."