5.29.2008

I don't want to be a paragraph (Part 2)

Yes it's three weeks later.  No I don't care.  This is a continuation of the previous post by the same name, so read that first if you want the full context.  In that post I mentioned the fact that as I study history I realize there are so many people who seemed so significant but at best they end up being a paragraph in a history book that students don't care to read.  So many of us want to be significant and live meaningful lives.  But how do we do that? 

I'm not sure exactly what the secret is but I know what it is not.  The secret is not worrying about what other people think and striving for significance in the eyes of others.  I am a huge sports fan and I love both baseball and football.  I pay attention to the sports more than 95% of the population.  But I'd have a hard time telling you who won the Super Bowl four years ago.  (It was probably the stupid Patriots.)  In the moment those guys winning the Super Bowl was the biggest thing - it was all over the news, they went to Disneyland and on talk shows - and then, nothing.  Nobody cares anymore and a new season begins.  When the king dies and five, ten, twenty years go by he is nothing but a memory.  A hundred years go by and he's a paragraph in a textbook.

I don't want that to happen to me!

Looking death in the face can be a terrifying thing.  I'm on this planet for a short time and then I'm gone.  What will be left of me?  I know this sounds lame, but all that will really be left of me are the memories the people I love and that loved me have.  The only things that will really last forever that I did on this earth will have to do with the people I spent time with and the relationships I developed.  Time I spend pursuing goals outside of people will be essentially wasted time. 

So I don't want to be a paragraph.  I want to be a husband, father, friend, disciple of Jesus, teacher, mentor, coach, etc.  I want to fight against the constant desire to be admired or looked up to or whatever else it is I want by other other.  As long as that is the goal of my life I'm going to be disappointed.  This isn't anything terribly profound but it is something that's hit home to me more lately.  Having a daughter and thinking about her future, thinking about the fact that the day will come when I'm not there, makes me consider how much more precious life is.

As my favorite radio show hosts have said, "you never walk away from a dinner saying to yourself 'man I wish I had some more of that pie!'"  Well I'm fairly confident I will not reach the end of my life saying "I wish I'd had that better gaming rig" or "I wish I'd had that award" or whatever else.  All my regrets are probably going to have something to do with people.  So I'd better do what I can to focus on people and avoid the fate of becoming a paragraph.

You know, this whole two-post thing was a lot more eloquent in my head at 5am when I first came up with it three weeks ago.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Amen! I really enjoyed reading this 2 parter. I think you hit it right on the head,