We all have many opportunities and possibilities to move forward in our faith, our relationships, our work, our inner lives, and more. Of course, making progress in any area requires determination, discipline, effort, sacrifice, and hard work, but the results are worth it.
In The Sound of Music1, the mother superior tells Fraulein Maria, the boisterous postulant nun, to leave the convent to help a motherless large family. When she protests, the abbess asks her, “What is the most important thing you have learned during your time in the abbey?” “To find out what is the will of God,” Maria replies, “and do it wholeheartedly.” And so she goes, albeit quite scared, to fulfill the greater purpose God had for her life and eventually find her happy ending.
That blind spot! I’m not talking about the back of the retina where the optic nerve enters the eyeball, that place lacking cones or rods that causes us to lose vision at certain angles. I am talking about those unguarded moments when I miss something right in front of me. The other day, our event company calculated that we’ve lost over $1,000 worth of equipment over the years due to leaving bags somewhere we shouldn’t have. Then just the other day, while I was coming home from the gym, I forgot to zip up the side pocket of my backpack where my phone was, and … you can guess what happened.
Most people have heard the acronym “YOLO” thrown around for the past couple of years. It stands for “you only live once.” Pop stars and celebrities have made it a catchphrase to promote doing crazy things or taking risks because, hey, “You only live once!”
It’s an attractive thought. Why worry about the future? Why subscribe to having to answer for decisions we make when we can pretend it all doesn’t matter anyway? Why can’t we only be concerned about what makes us happy right now?
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire, and he told his boss of his plans to leave and live a more leisurely life with his wife. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see such a good worker go, and he asked the carpenter to build just one more house as a personal favor.
One of the most mind-boggling questions is “How does God relate to time?”
The Bible does its best to give us God’s perspective. “Don’t forget that for the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years,” it explains helpfully, “and a thousand years is the same as one day.”1 Our relationship to time seems to be a lot simpler, but the truth is we still haven’t figured it all out.
My grandmother wasn’t a career woman. In fact, she only held a job for six years in her entire life. When she got married, she and my grandfather couldn’t afford for both of them to be away studying for five years, so although she’d hoped to attend college, she remained at home with her husband’s relatives, who unfortunately treated her quite harshly. She endured the separation and the unkind relatives patiently, with no complaint in her letters throughout the entire time.
Two essential ingredients for success in life are a sound personal relationship with the Creator of life, followed closely by sound relationships with those around us. In fact, it’s impossible to be truly happy without either of those. Jesus gave us the key to both when He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”1