Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I'm silly. I let myself get beaten down by things that are not important in the end, and that I get little enjoyment from along the way. I tend to exaggerate my worries as well, so that something whose consequences are probably are not dire becomes something of utmost importance to me, and thus a source of fear and regret. All along, I know that those feelings are not rewarding; at the same time I know I am doing my very best in everything I attempt, I have been a good steward of all that has been entrusted to me, as in the parable of the talents. Even if the return is not as great as I hope or expect from myself, the point is that I invest in the things that I should and I am faithful in them, to the end.

The accountant side of me always looks to be busy and to be efficient, and to excel in what I do. If I fail myself, then I have to live with that for the rest of my life, even if I hurt no one else in the wake. I have learned how to manage my time and how to be efficient; I have learned a satisfying work ethic that usually rewards me in the end with a good grade or a sense of accomplishment or a feeling that I am doing something that will have far-reaching influence.

But the artist side of me finds satisfaction more in the side streets along the way--an amazing conversation with this person, a newly-established, deep connection with that person, a wonderful sense of aesthetic pleasure as I stop every few steps and look around me and breathe in the atmosphere of a world that still has much to teach me and many new places to take me. In this vein, I revel in the slowness and the solitude that is found when you step away from all the things I otherwise work so hard to achieve.

Some people find it difficult to reconcile the two ways of being. Can one person be type A and type B all at once? There are times when even I (perhaps especially I) wonder if the parts of who I am are at all compatible. But when I look hard into it all, I come up with the conclusion that all I really want to do is be the best person I can be, live the most fulfilling life I can live. (To put it from a spiritual perspective, to become more Christlike each day of my life.) Sometimes that involves a lot of hard work. I don't mind that; to the contrary, I really love fulfilling my responsibilities and feeling like I have done something good and productive. On the other hand, sometimes living the right life means slowing down to realize what truly is meaningful--to think about the things that have eternal significance. Does accounting have eternal significance? Sometimes--but it's easy to get caught up in the workload and lose sight of the higher goal. Does writing have eternal significance? Usually, I find--but not when I try to force it upon myself as a relaxer, as a tool to unwind. When it comes naturally, when my mind is clear and open to the inspiration that must always precede anything aesthetically pleasing, then I feel the significance of it. Then I feel like I am fulfilling my purpose in this life.

Each of us has many purposes to fulfill, don't we? If you were put here on earth for one reason and one reason only, then wouldn't your life become remarkably dull? But thankfully, most of us have many giftings and many things that move us and change us and fulfill us. The challenge for me is not deciding what my "one great purpose" on earth is, but how to balance my smaller purposes, to finally create a large mosaic of all the different small pieces of glass that I bring to the world. Sometimes, I get out-of-balance; right now, I think I am beginning to find my way back to the right path again.

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