Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Measure of a Life

A funny thing occurred to me while I was putting sheets into the washing machine today. It occurred to me that someone might judge me for me sheets. Why? Because they were dirty that's why. They are off white sheets and they were noticeably grimy. Would it bother me for someone to see my dirty sheets? Would someone judge my worth based on the nastiness of my sheets? Who decided that dirt was dirty in the first place?

These are all questions that ran through my head at that moment. The bigger question, however, is this: How do we measure success in life? This question begs to be pondered. It is one I ruminate about on a regular basis. Since my feelings are that life truly boils down to relationships; a life is measured by those she/he touches and through the bonds that are formed. It doesn't matter so much about the tasks that sometimes go undone in order to free our lives up for time spent with people.

Now, I am not suggesting that we should all throw caution, and work and house cleaning to the wind. I know that is impossible. We must work to provide money for our basic needs. We have to uphold a modicum hygiene in our environment; that is just a fact of life. We were, after all, put here on this earth as its caretakers; we are to work in an effort to take good care of the things that we were given. In the end, however, it is not necessary for these jobs to define our whole lives; nor should we judge others by their labors or by the cleanliness of their sheets.

We really should take the time each day to remember the things we have said and the people we have touched, in order to be able to measure our successes. It is challenging to judge these intangible things, I understand that. It is so much simpler to look at clean crisp, snowy white sheets stretched out on a bed and know that we accomplished something today. I think this is why we get caught up in the jobs sometimes; it makes us feel worthy in a tangible way. The outward manifestation of our internal character is so much harder to see, so we don't spend as much time nurturing that part because no one seemingly notices.

Believe me, they notice. They just don't take the time to tell you; they are too busy cleaning their own sheets.

Genesis 2:15

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

Philemon 1:7

7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

1 Peter 4:7-9

7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.