How do you spend your precious life?

My task here is to convince you of the great value of your life.  Because I think your time is precious, I will try to be brief.

I visited my soon-to-be 26-year-old daughter last week in her home in Austin, TX.  We did many things but the time I liked best was when we camped at a coffee house for an hour or two and then went next door to a vinyl record store.  It reminded so much of the “special time”, as we called it, we shared each week when she was a little girl.  I didn’t realize at the time how important that time would look in the rear-view mirror.  I’ll go so far as to say that whatever destiny I might have fulfilled to this point in my life, that time was a significant part of it — shaping her life, shaping mine.

Treat your life as the incredibly limited resource it is.  Please think twice, make that three times, before you give a significant part of your life over to television.  I try not to be too preachy but I’m not shy about this point.

This morning my mind was concerned with many Monday  tasks and I was ready to make a “To Do” list and then attack it.  While grabbing a snack from our break room, though, I peered out a big window and saw a light coating of snow, fresh from the early morning.  I saw tall evergreen trees, and two birds happily trying out perches on a building that had no doubt been lovingly designed by an architect 20 years ago.  I realized that this scene had rescued me from the brink of a little functional insanity, and I thanked God for this intervention.

When I think about the best moments of my childhood, almost all of them involved doing things that seem pretty mundane by today’s standards:  Circling the airports (that appear as airplanes) on a state map; Walking to get doughnuts, cutting through the graveyard on the way; Taking the money we earned by mowing lawns to the curb market to buy penny candy.  What they had in common was that we were in the moment, single-tasking.  We hadn’t even heard of Zen but we were monks in our own way.

When you go through today, give yourself fully to another.  Laugh.  Take a recess period like you did when you were in elementary school.  Read something really difficult that takes all your concentration.  Call one of your in-laws.  Go outside at night and look up at the stars.  And whatever you do, do it with you whole heart.


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