Too often we are driven by the “tyranny of the urgent.” Since we live in a world that seems to thrive on what is instant, we can allow ourselves to fall into the trap of immediacy. We see it around us – the cell phone, the instant messaging, social media, etc. Television has 24-hour news and the Internet is constantly streaming the latest story. What’s the hurry?
But there may be a more important question than that – what is the direction? As one wag put it, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m really getting there in a hurry!” Occasionally we just need to slow down to ask some basic questions – who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? My identity, my purpose, and my destiny may all be determined by what is permanent in my life.
Just recently a friend seemed very tired when I met her. As we talked she confided that within a few days of each other one of her best friends and a close relative had suddenly died. She was feeling at a loss. “We had things to talk about. I had things I needed to say, but now I can’t do that.” Some things really are worth doing now. Start with reminding yourself that someone you love may not always be around. Today is the day to have that conversation, to say “I love you” while you have time, or to share a moment of appreciation with someone special to you. Those moments may be considered part of the permanent we value.
The pressure to do some things is great. We tell ourselves that we have to accomplish the things on our “to do” list before we can relax and enjoy a moment with a child or an older relative. But when the special moment is past, we often find it cannot be recreated. Then the regret over what we might have done lingers with us. A wise man said, “The saddest words of tongue are pen are these: it might have been.”
What’s urgent? Often it the present stress or circumstance. What’s permanent? I’d offer the unseen values. I love poster that remind us of what’s really important. I have one that says, “The only love we keep is the love we give away.” So true.
For most of us, however, we let the opportunity to love or be loved get crowded out of our schedules by the insistence of what is immediate. When life is over, I dare suggest that it will be the measure of our investment in the permanent by which we’d like to be measured rather than the management of the urgent. Think about that.