Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tomorrow is not the given you think it is

Three items of seeming unconnectedness:

1) I spoke with an old friend today from a previous company. We were talking about life in general, and then she mentioned that her father, who had Parkinson's, had passed away this Monday. I expressed my condolences and she said "It wasn't unexpected." I commented that in the long term, none of our deaths are unexpected.

2) In speaking with my friend, she also mentioned she had received an e-mail from a coworker at a previous company we had both worked at. She asked me if I remembered a coworker, Dr. Sima Faris Young. I thought for a minute, and then said yes, I did remember her - short, with dark hair, as I recall. My friend then read the e-mail to me: she had passed away this weekend at age 41 from complications from liver cancer. (Her obituary is here.)

3) The political fallout from yesterday has affected me - initially with concern and disappointment, then with renewed enthusiasm. I am not one to quote my political beliefs at length here (so don't hold your breath), but I do believe that those who would seek to destroy us today received confirmation that if you kill enough Americans, you will cause them to retreat. I fear for the future, as the terrorists will not stop unless destroyed, but we will. Action is called for.

My point in these three seemingly unrelated points is that the ability to do good and act is far more limited than we believe. We can believe that we will survive until our eighties as the averages tell us, but it could be with a debilitating disease when old, or simply cut off when young, or even with a loss of the ability to affect change which we thought we would always have.

Do Good Now. Serve God Now. Act Now. Spend Your Time On Things That Edify, Not Just Entertain. Spend Time On Things Of Eternal Value Now.

Tomorrow is not the given you think it is.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Pursuit of Excellence

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit" - Aristotle

"He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much." - Luke 16:10

In comparing two working environments - one a professional arena and one a customer service arena - the question of job enjoyment and satisfaction arose. The thought occurred through discussion that if there is no reward or recognition for success and no results or consequences for failure, there eventually comes no incentive to particularly put in effort for anything.

Reaching for purpose

I am confronted with a dilemna about life, specifically my own - from whence, I'm not sure.

I am struggling to reconcile the requirements of life with the realities of the workplace.

My work, which pays the bills and provides food, shelter, clothing, education, and utilities for my family, is not going well now. Not badly, just not well - the most telling point is that in over a year, I have not learned a new skill.

The thing that bothers me is that there are events of great import going on in the world, work that can have an affect on the future. Unfortunately, my job is not one of these.

I hunger for employment with purpose, employment that will somehow affect the world we live in. I understand and grasp that my real hope is not to be realized until the return of Christ (1 Peter 1: 4-5). My conflict is that I don't think that this life should be wasted either, even as one strives to not become entangled in the things of this life. (1 Timothy 6: 6-10), that even in the raising of my family, loving my wife, and serving my God through His church, these things are those that have both temporal and eternal significance.

The problem is, my family, my children, and my church is not where I spent most of my time. It's at my job, which as noted above, hardly has significance in the great scheme of things.

"Do all to the Glory of God" Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31; but I fail to see how pushing papers that more often than not will result in nothing accomplishes that.

We went down the career change path before, and that ended badly. Do I go there again? Do I not? How do I make my life more signficant now and in eternity?