Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What matters?


In an instant, I can find myself wrapped up in any number of things that are very petty and do not matter.  Working with middle school students, I witness things getting blown out of proportion on a daily basis.  The kids will take so many things and run with them as if the world is over.  Sometimes I appear careless and heartless to them because I have grown some sort of immunity to it.

I have seen so many little girls crying and heartbroken because their BFF wasn't much of a BFF.  Somebody lied for personal gain.  Somebody said something about somebody else that wasn't true and, at that point, all thoughts of academics go out the window and they obsess over what was said and who said it.  For the boys, they are caught up in how many different noises they can make and how many items they can turn into projectiles.

Over the past few years, I have seen students act as if a very easy assignment is so difficult that they might as well just give up on school altogether.  Now, I cannot rest comfortably if a student does not understand something and I honestly have not tried very hard to explain it or explored various options of explaining it.  However, I do not feel personal guilt when I make sure there are plenty of ways for the student to understand and I know for sure that I have tried to help and it really is no longer me, but the student must make the choice.

Oddly enough, with as many trifling things as there are that they worry about.  And we as adults cannot believe they are so upset.  WE STILL run about like chickens with our heads cut off fretting about and worrying about all of our own petty little nonsense nothings.  At that point I honestly know that I have no place to think their problems so minuscule if I myself am caught up in any sort of useless nonsense.

When I woke up this morning, one thought pervaded my mind.  I do believe Christ put it there and left it there to give me serenity to enable me to be strong enough to contribute to others and not lose my head.  The thought was "What really matters?"  When you are focused on what really matters, you cannot focus on the things that don't matter.

Soo...that begs the question..what DOES really matter.  Well, after coming up with my own conclusion. I started asking people.

My personal thought was...

What matters is being honest, doing your best, loving others as yourself.  And, at the end of the day, I wouldn't regret it if I made a mistake in filling out a form, but I would regret it if I was so obsessed with things like forms that I didn't get to talk with or spend time with my family.

Here are some of the things other people said

What matters?

family, trusting God, being an encourager to other people, being faithful

At the end of the day...

 I wouldn't regret not vacuuming the carpet, but I would regret not telling my family I loved them.

What matters?

truth, courage, wisdom

At the end of the day...

I wouldn't regret not succeeding, but I would regret not trying.

What matters?

doing well, being true to yourself and to others, contributing

At the end of the day...

I wouldn't regret if I didn't go to work, but I would regret if I didn't take time to reflect on everything I am blessed with.

What matters?

family, health, friends

At the end of the day...

I would regret not kissing my husband goodnight

And so it seems that at the heart of it all, we are understanding things that matter are not material.  They are all things of the heart.  

To be perfectly candid, I will admit one of the biggest reasons why I'm focusing on these things.  My grandmother is old and not doing so well.  She hasn't been doing well for quite some time but I wonder every day if it will be her last.  Then, I think to myself and I know that we never know which day will be our last.

Some stories from life have made a deep and lasting imprint on my heart.

When I got married, my uncle, who had cancer, specifically bought me a video camera as a wedding present.  He wanted to make sure that we opened it right away so that we could record and cherish those moments from our wedding.  I was busy planning the wedding and with work and I was unable to write him a thank you note or letter before the cancer took a turn for the worse and he passed away in January.

That is something I can never fix now, and I feel emotionally frozen when I think about it.  Some part of me wants to show my gratitude, but I know I can't.  I know there is nobody I can say "thank you" to for him because he was the one who got me the gift.  I was so "busy."  Gosh..I was too busy for that?

My grandmother had a brother who she held a grudge against for a long time.  In their old age, he contacted her in bad health.  She saw the condition he was in and took pity on him.  She knew he didn't have much time left and she wanted to make things right.  So, she decided she'd go see him in West Virginia.  Well, she wanted to plan it when it would be easier to travel.  In the end, she didn't make it there in time and felt awful.

Both of my parents have told me before that you need to seize opportunities like those.  Sometimes the time won't feel right but you just have to jump on it.  You are never too busy for love.  Never too busy for family.  Never too busy for life.  If I was unable to care for somebody because I was so "busy" I would not feel satisfied.

I don't mean for my blog to be grim.  I just think it is essential to focus on what matters because we are constantly bombarded with things that don't.  Jim Elliot said, "Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."  I don't want to miss an opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. WOW-WEE, this says it all! WOnderful thoughts once again. So glad you are putting your thoughts in writing. Next step, a book of blog thoughts.
    Love you!