“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau
I recently had a conversation with two friends. As we sat at a table, catching up on each other’s lives, I found myself caught up in a working woman’s conversation as they discussed their careers, their busy schedules, and the juggling act they must perform as working moms. Rather than bemoan their busy days, however, they quickly agreed that they could never go back to being “just a stay at home mom.” They agreed that staying home with their children, spending their day caring for their homes, doing laundry, and making meals would just be “too boring.”
Then they smiled at me with a poor, pitying nod and the same sympathetic, “poor soul” look you might give someone on death’s door. 🙂
Thinking they were joking I found a laugh beginning to bubble up.
Then I realized they were serious…and I had to hold back the fit of laughter that was fighting to come forth.
I can’t even imagine such a feeling.
It is the object of my fantasies and distant memories.
I remember being bored once… I think I was 8, but it was so long ago I can’t be sure. 🙂
Time is such an interesting paradox. It is something we always feel we are lacking and yet we perceive others having in abundance, and yet the reality of it all is that we all are equal…
In a world that is quick to point out any imbalance, any inequality, any injustice, this is one area where we all stand on equal footing.
those are the seconds in your day
and my day,
and your “busy” neighbor’s day,
and your great grandmother’s day,
and the President’s day,
and your 8 month old daughter’s day.
Time is the great equalizer.
Within every day we begin with the same balance in our bank book,
only the way we choose to use (or lose) those seconds differ.
I am a firm believer that no one person is busier than another. We are simply busy with different things. How my daughter spends her seconds is very different from how my mother spends hers, and yet I wouldn’t say one schedule is busier than another.
Society sells us this lie that the worth of our life multiplies the busier we can tell people we are. Busyness is worn like a badge or carried like a bank book, quick to be pulled out and compared to other’s accountings of their lives…
“Who is busier?” we ask ourselves.
“Wow,” we acknowledge, “She must be an amazing person. Look at how busy she is. There is hardly a second left at the end of her day.”
“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. What are we busy about?” -Henry Davis Thoreau
No one is busier than another, we are just busy with different things…
with different priorities…
with different purposes…
with different callings.
How I use my time, while it may seem to lack value when seen through the glasses of your priorities and your calling, has equal value to your life’s work. And while I may not have any desire to spend my days in an office environment, I recognize it is where God wants you to be.
We don’t have to want another person’s life to be able to embrace its worth for them!
I think this is the greatest lesson I have learned as I have grown older…
Our callings are not the same.
My purpose on earth is different from yours,
and because our callings differ, our use of time will differ too. And that is a wonderful thing. We need to spend more time cheering each other on in our journeys and spend less time judging the value of our journey based on the lives of those around us.
As I sat and listened to the conversation of these two friends I just smiled. I didn’t take their words personally, and I didn’t let their ignorance of my personal calling affect me. I don’t need their validation or their approval. I don’t need to give them an accounting of my days, and minutes, and seconds.. I know I am on the path the Lord wants me on (at least for this season of my life.) and I know he values the way I am spending the seconds of my days.
It is not their journey to understand.
So I just smiled and assured them that staying home and teaching my five kids wasn’t boring to me…not boring at all.
Perhaps someday the Lord will see fit to bless me with a little of that mythical “boredom” I hear about in fairy tales.
Until then I will embrace the crazy busyness of my life,
and give thanks for the path I am on.
We all have the same 86,400 seconds of life to spend each day,
may we all spend them wisely and see them for the beautiful currency that they are.
How are you spending the days of your life?