CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter
I have six categories I think through each day to remind me of how I need to spend my time.
1 = HEALTH, both physical and mental. I put it first because nothing else is possible without health.
2 = FAMILY. Obvious reasons. These are the persons most important to me and for whom I have the greatest responsibility.
3 = HOUSEHOLD. You can’t live very successfully unless someone maintains the infrastructure—cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands, trash and recycling, yard and house, laundry, car maintenance, putting Christmas decorations back up on the shelves in the garage, making more shelves, etc. Life falls apart pretty quickly if you don’t tend to these.
4 = FRIENDS. It’s important to support and uphold and spend time with the people who call you and say, “I’m coming to town and I want a sandwich.”
5 = LAUGHTER. I make that a separate category because it’s so easy to neglect it. Laughter is life’s magic potion. We need to imbibe it every day. If there’s no chance of it coming up on its own, I need to seek it out. A preacher, a priest, and a rabbi walked into a bar. The bartender said, “Is this some sort of joke?”
6 = MISSION. For a long time, I called this category Work. When I retired, I changed it to Writing, because that’s how I wanted to spend my time. But Mission is really what it was all along. If I were still working or writing, they would not really be ends in themselves but part of my mission. Mission includes our work, but is larger. It is vocation, what we are called not so much to do as to be. The doing comes out of the being.
Each of us is called to the vocation of being, being a child of God, and thus acting like a child of God. Or, as my non-believer friends say, acting “like a decent human being.”
Joan Erikson, the wife of psychologist Erik Erikson, says that in his last years, when he needed constant care, he observed his caregivers with the same interested eye through which he had always viewed people, and treated them with the same kindness and graciousness he had always used. The field for his mission, for being a child of God, a decent human being, had been reduced from the whole world, to which he related through his research and teaching, to just a handful of people, but his mission did not change.
The Mission category includes and sets the tone for the others. None of us is ever too old to have a mission.
I tweet as yooper1721.