“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Saint Basil
How many of us have tunnel vision? It is simple to do and often happens. Maybe it occurs due to our earnest desire to get things done. We don’t want to waste time so we search for the quick meaning in any given situation. If one runs towards an injured person, and misses the dangerous gas permeating a room, you are both in trouble. The same is true in life.
Sometimes we think we know what the purpose is, and then we run crazily towards goals that are so unimportant. We forget about those details, which are the fabric of our lives. The details tell the story. How our story pans out, depends on what we consider most important. I know how many times I think about what I have to get done. I consider these items important enough to attend to first. I figure that when I fulfill them, then I will get to those other items, I enjoy and value most. The controversy always starts, when I run out of time, before attending to the jobs I love to do.
At times I admonish myself for not stopping, before I am totally exhausted, and unable to give anything more to the family. Of course they mean the most to me, yet they come in last on my list. I look at it this way. They will understand and still love me, even if I disappoint them time after time. On the other hand, my boss or friend, may not be so forgiving. I don’t think about the hurt I have caused my family, nor the disappointment.
I keep telling myself, when things calm down, slow up, finish up, I will have time for all of those items I looked forward to doing. I am only kidding myself. If I reflect long enough, I admit it, especially when I have disappointed people again and again. For some reason, I have this unfathomable goal to have the approval of the outside world. I need to look good, measure up and be respected. Of course the reality of it is, that the world most likely doesn’t really care about me or what I accomplish.
It is kind of like being on someone’s good list, or bad list. How ridiculous it sounds when I think about it. People forget so quickly, about what happened yesterday. Once things are accomplished, they project to tomorrow. Perhaps I worry about the inconsequential. Now if I could figure out why, I place so much emphasis on such nonsense, I would gain answers to some mysteries of life. Of course jobs make it necessary to have concern, because that is the bread. Yet, I know I can always get another job if needed. I don’t want the aggravation. Yet I put up with all kinds of upsetting things at work.
I ask myself how the world came to be in such a dilemma. As much as we think we have acquired so much, we can’t enjoy it due to time constraints. Perhaps we have lost life’s meaning. If I worry more about work, and making dinner, then I haven’t come to the realization of the true meaning in my life. I can ignore my child’s questions, promising to answer them when I ‘have time’. Deep down I know that probably won’t happen.
I strive at work, and when offered more money, of course to give more time, I immediately accept, and admonish myself for the guilty feelings. I attempt to convince myself it is for the benefit of all of us, in the long run. The trouble is, do we see the long run, or are we caught up in the short runs everyday. My patience is at the end of the rope, but I blame it on my burdens, which my family doesn’t understand. If I can’t make the child’s performance at school, I alleviate the guilty thoughts with thoughts of doing what is best for the family. Have I gotten lost on my way? Am I on the right path?
I love it when I hear spouses mention, that their partner is not understanding, so they found love someplace else. Perhaps it is them, who have ignored the aspects of life, that made it worthwhile. They traded the important features, with tunnel vision. We forget about the magnitude of the specifics, that make our life have meaning. There are no short cuts to a worthy life. Knowing what is of value in our lives, is perhaps the most substantial understanding, we can attain.
When a child looks to us for advice, or small talk, it usually ends up having far more significance, than we originally expected. We end up feeling thankful, for taking the time we gave to our child. Likely though we forget to recall those treasured moments, the next time our child tugs at our pants. When we have no time to give, we have no comprehension of the importance, of those aspects that give our life relevance. I believe it is essential, to ‘not ever underestimate the small stuff’.
We set our marriage up for failure, if we give it small attention. We are not parenting when we have no time for answering simple questions, for it is in those moments that the big questions come through. Tunnel vision leads us to finishing a day’s work, for pay, and then crashing, when we get home. Open, far-reaching vision gives us greater understanding, regarding the outcomes, for the amount of value we place on our humanity. There are two options. We might gain material wealth but lose our humanity, and that which holds purpose in our lives. We might also pick compassion, lose much of our material wealth, but gain back our values and humanity.
Attend to what you hold dear. focus on those things and people you treasure. Take responsibility for the path you choose. I might add that if we choose the path least chosen, we will find more dimension to our lives. People, not material gains, stretch our minds and hearts. Allowing them to fill up with love and kindness, leaves us altered and satisfied in a good way.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” Stephen R. Covey
“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” Elisabeth Elliot
“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” Brandon Sanderson