During an especially busy time, I had a perspective adjustment that changed my outlook for the better.
I was involved in several major projects, had a huge amount of work to do, and was quite tired—almost exhausted.
Popular messages today teach us to live in the moment, to practice mindfulness, to take a deep breath… But sometimes our moments are more than moments—they stretch out into seasons. And that requires taking more than one breath. One of the wonderful things about getting older is that I have lived for many seasons, and so have many of my friends. These seasons have given us insights, and as we go about collecting experiences, they become like jewels to be treasured.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a young man who makes a million-dollar mistake in his company and is overwhelmed with stress and worry. A few days pass, and sure enough, his managers call him in and say to him:
“After spending a million dollars training you, I sure hope that you aren’t thinking of quitting!”
In God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis included an essay entitled “Answers to Questions on Christianity.” One of the questions is on which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness, and he gave this famous reply:
For as long as I can remember, I never liked doing puzzles. Viewing thousands of sky-blue, nearly-identical little pieces scattered over a wooden table was enough to make my head feel dizzy. I couldn’t begin to figure out where to start.
In 2007, the Netherlands instituted a two-hundred-year plan for adapting to and preparing for climate change.1 With two-thirds of the Dutch population living below sea level, changes in climate can have a drastic and tragic effect on this nation—hence the extreme caution.
One morning, I walked into my music teacher’s classroom to start my violin lesson and noticed two violins on the desk. My eye was immediately drawn to the first one, which looked new. A brand-new violin is something to behold, with gorgeous curves, a glossy, unscratched surface that shines in the light, and an engagingly twisting scroll fitted with squeaky tuning pegs.
When you think of “great” men and women, what sort of people come to mind? Many of us would list outstanding athletes, best-selling authors, favorite movie or TV actors, music artists, politicians, and so forth. That’s natural. These are the people who dominate the media, and we’re fed a constant stream of information regarding their lives, ideas, habits, and preferences.
Today I get the privilege of hosting five families for dinner. We’ve known each other for the better part of our lives, and tonight we’ll all come together in joyful community. I look forward to these kinds of evenings relaxing with friends and family. This is where my true wealth lies!
Each event in your life, each thought, each decision, each bit of love, and each interaction with someone else is like a thread in a tapestry. Day after day, dark threads and bright threads are woven together, often, it seems, without rhyme or reason, but in the end they form a picture. When I look at the tapestry of your life, I see a beautiful work!