Friday, October 23, 2009
“We prayed that we’d be well spent,” my friend said, by way of explanation. She was twelve hours off a flight from a third world country when she walked into our Sunday morning Bible Fellowship group. Eyes heavy, color slightly grey, her prayer was clearly answered—and it was beautiful.
To be well spent has been the goal of my life. I put an exorbitant amount of thought into the things in which I choose to invest. Partly, I am sure, as a byproduct of my hypochondria, I am continually aware of the brevity of life and determined to suck the marrow out of every moment. My preoccupation with the significance of time is mostly a good thing. It won’t allow me much in the idleness department, It demands that I have something to “show for myself” at the end of every day. It forces me to examine my goals and keeps my gaze focused upon them.
But like any side effect born of obsessive compulsive behavior (note for New Readers: I have struggled with moderate to severe hypochondria my entire life. It is currently under control) there is a tendency to over examine, to set the bar too high, to suffer from impossibly high expectations.
At the moment, I’m right smack in the middle of healthy introspection that could, at any given moment, make a wrong turn into a nasty neighborhood where nothing is ever quite good enough. Like most people stalled out at a cross roads, I’m listening to some good tunes. One song that I have been listening to a lot lately is Switchfoot’s “American Dream.” Its message, that the success and excess driven ideal for which we strive will never satisfy, is summarized in the chorus when Jon Foreman sings, “I want to live and die for bigger things.” I do, too. I just don’t seem to know what they are anymore.
When my kids were littler and needed me a lot more, I knew. When I was a youth minister, I knew. When I was in the thick of writing my YA novels, I knew.
Now? Now, I’m not really sure where to invest. Sure, I’m still “all in” with my family. It’s just that my kids aren’t at the point where they need most of my waking moments. My passion is still writing, but I’ve been living too long without a clear goal or focus, and that has to change.
Which brings me to the tiger at the top of this post. He’s not random—in fact, some of my Regular Readers probably recognize him. Tony is the official spokes tiger for resurrected dreams, second chances, and a book proposal I abandoned way before I should have.
It doesn’t take more than a passing glace to realize that Tony’s the poster cat for life well spent. In fact, he’s looking worse than ever, but I woke up yesterday and knew he was back and things are about to change. I’m not sure yet what this all means, but it’s Friday and I’m heading for the rainy mountains (sans any shelter save my van) and I think I’m going to spend some time praying for some wear and tear. I want to play so hard as to leave everything on whatever field my "bigger things" lie--whether that's a foreign mission field like the one from which my friend returned, some facet of the journalism field, or a grassy knoll where I paint en plain aire. I want to live with an abandon that’s as plain as the nose on Tony’s split face. I want to be Well Spent.
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