Sunday, March 02, 2008

Of mice

I wonder how many times I've made another person feel the way I felt today.

Completely unnecessary.

Soon after his 85th birthday, my father realized he was no longer strong enough to give the weekly sermon in the small church he pastored.

He summed it up: “If I can’t preach any more, what good am I?”

The irony is, Dad had a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. When he came to visit, he wasn’t content to relax. He wanted a list of projects to complete. If he wasn’t working, he grew restless. He would even find things he thought needed improvement, whether I’d asked for him to do it or not. If he could have died while delivering a message, he would have died happy. Yet from a child, Dad knew that his “works” were not the source of his significance.

It was too shocking a statement for me to sweep aside with the dementia brush. Dad’s statement reflects an attitude quite pervasive in us all. We work. We work hard. We take on more than we can effectively handle. We burn out.

All pursuing one lofty goal: to be Needed. Significant. Worthy.

It troubles me to no end to think how easily I could be replaced. It saddens me to measure how much I contribute against how much I believe is needful. Yet as a wise person once said, “When you have too much in your life, what is truly important gets lost in the clutter.”

I’m in the process of giving serious consideration to decluttering my commitments.

Because What I Do has nothing to do with Who I Am.

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