What Really Matters? (Part 1)

Ride the waves of inevitability. If you have drive, if you have curiosity, if you passion for a project, you have life. You have a responsibility, you have a precious, rare gift. You have this unique moment to actually participate in the creative process.

Don’t think. Don’t get caught up in the how’s. Just feel. Feel the ideas flowing out of you. Feel the insights brewing. They are there a plenty if we will only put the pen to paper and get out of the way, we can experience this great joy.

What matters in 10 years? What matters in 20? What will be remembered at our eulogy? What things about us transcend us? What gifts can we leave to the next generations? What about our life will matter in the long run?

These sorts of questions get real focus in the mid-life. They also get crystal clear with a view of death in mind (threat of disease, near-fatal accident, close friend dying, etc). As death makes its way into our view, we are forced to consider.

Is what I’m spending my time on really what I “should” be spending my time on? Do my actions stand the test of time? Am I making decisions for the right reasons? If I were to find out I had only one year to live how would my life change?

Would we have more courage to risk? That is the question. Would we be more free to follow those hunches, the leanings we have intuitively but for fear or lack of focus do not pursue? Would we finally take the leap into a preferred future without a guarantee?

At some point there is an inevitable leap. Soren Kierkengaard spent most of his life fascinated by this point. Life ultimately is a risk. There is an essential existential crisis to being human. We have to make choices without knowing their consequences.

There is no way to we calculate the results of our actions today. Nor should we. Instead we are given the responsibility only to choose. Make a life by choosing it. God will not do it for you. God does not remove the burden of choosing our life.

We alone can choose. That incredible freedom is also the pivotal responsibility of life. What are we going to do with what we have? We will be held accountable. Every religion and every creed has some sense of a universal reckoning.

Even the most well-intentioned person can sincerely screw it up. In the end intentions can not justify us. It is our actions, our actions alone. What did we DO? What impact was made with what we did? How was the world left better as a result?

This is very different from the frenetic sort of approach to change-making, jumping head-first into every possible avenue that comes up. The novice is swallowed alive by the sheer force of good opportunities. Most don’t get out.

Many such bleeding hearts went in full till and did not really come out. Smart action requires the grace of active waiting. As we move forward and continue to strengthen our risk muscle, we pull back and we wait, giving time to contemplate.

We re-configure, assess, investigate, run inventory, pray through and receive input for our pursuits. We constantly offer them back to the places from which they came. We give the many seeds we planted a chance to catch up with us.

We also give the well-watered growing parts of our enterprise a chance to rest. Where some might say get another lap in, the pit crew here realizes the immensely important need to stop for new tires and a fill up. Do it now.

If we insist on activity and are happy with mere busyness, we will never quite get it. Our well-intentioned actions will lead to very little return. If, on the other hand, we are patient and deliberate, pushing and pulling with life, we may just find what we seek.