One evening, at the end of a very long day, I was prevented from retiring to my dreamy, comfortable, down-covered bed by another rousing round of Helping a Teenager With Homework. I was losing my patience as the Teen in question was definitely not as focused as I thought he could be on finishing the assignment. In my frustration I raised my voice in exasperation, waved the book in emphasis and proclaimed: “If you are not going to put any effort into this, then there is no reason for me to be here! I don’t need to be doing this, I got an ‘A’ in stupid…”. Suddenly my mind became aware that if I finished the sentence I would inadvertently degrade the subject of my son’s study. I couldn’t be guilty of demeaning the value of a class, so instead, I stopped short. My son took this to be a delightfully revealing exchange, however. Now, whenever I am exerting my opinion regarding family issues he counsels the rest of my family: “Hey! We should all listen to what Mom says; after all, she did get an ‘A’ in Stupid.
I am thinking about the effort exerted to organize a life: keep the household in order, manage the appointments, correspond with my circle of influence, create the meals, take photos and videos like crazy, setting goals and reaching them. Why exert so much energy and dedicate so much time if I do not know why I am doing so? Crystalizing the reasons behind my daily life – that is the focus part of living.
Pausing to note the emotion, capturing a memory, having a conversation, enjoying a meal together – these are the celebrations of living.
So many people exhaust themselves to live the lives they think they should be living. They see a friend, a TV personality or someone in a magazine article doing all these seemingly impactful, impressive and popular things and they feel like they must strive to be that person, living life like that. Just because something is of value, or a positive activity, doesn’t mean it is something we have to strive to include on our priority list.
That is why it is useful for me to reflect on the reasons behind my daily efforts.
Then I can make decisions easier and focus on being intentional as I carry out everyday tasks.
The Perfect Plan is to Celebrate what happens each day. It may be a day that falls neatly into our intended arrangements, or it may tumble into something completely different, very fulfilling and worthy of noting.