Living Wisely

I have kept a journal since my “first” retirement from  the public schools in California  in 1996 .   Since then, I begin my day by writing in my journal about events in my life and my thoughts and feelings about them—-and I highly recommend the practice.    Occasionally during the years I’ve kept the journal I have made an intentional effort to back away from everyday life and assess the goals that I have set for myself.   It is a difficult task, but it gives me a hint as to how wisely I have been spending the time given to me.   It helps me determine what legacy I might be leaving to my descendants when I am no longer on this earth.

Most of us question our lives in some similar  way as I do.   We pause in the “busyness” of our lives and ask ourselves:   What am I doing?   Why am I doing it?  Is this what life is all about?  What goals do I have for my life?   What can I  do to make my life  better?   What is the good life anyway?  Am I using the time  given me in life well?    What does it mean to say that we have “lived wisely and well”?

The Apostle Paul had some words about this in  the 5th chapter of Ephesians:

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.   (Ephesians 5:15-16)  

This is good advice, but not easy to put in practice.

How do we “make the most of our time“?    Many of us lead hectic lives.   We rush about vainly trying to do everything and in the process we may neglect what is the most important—-because we are too busy to stop and prioritize what is important.

We spend most of our lives worrying about past problems and future concerns to the extent that they dominate our present moments so much that we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed, and hopeless.    We postpone our gratification, our priorities and our happiness—convincing ourselves the “someday” it  will be better than today and we won’t be so busy and will get them done.  .  For example, “someday I’ll take that dream trip”  or “someday I will take the kids to the zoo” or “someday I will visit my Aunt Mary who is lonely” or “someday I will let my wife know just how much I love her.    Unfortunately we have no guarantee that “someday” will ever arrive.   John Lennon once said, “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.

While we are busy making other plans, our children are busy growing up and now want to spend time with their peers instead of us;  our health deteriorates and we’re not able to make that dream trip;   Aunt Mary dies a lonely death; and our wife who feels unloved files for a divorce.

So many of us live life as if it were a dress rehearsal for some later date.  It isn’t!    In fact, no one has a guarantee of even being alive tomorrow.   The present is the only time we have and the only time we have any control over.      As the song goes:    Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus!   And tomorrow’s still out of sight.   Teach me today, show me the way; one day at a time!

Let us spend the time that is given us right now wisely.  Take time to discern what is important and do it today rather than putting it  off until “someday” which may never come!

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