Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trivial Pursuit & Perspective

When we slow down and sit in the silence of a moment, what will we find that we are giving our lives to?

Over the weekend I spent a considerable amount of time with my extended family, reminiscing good times as we hoped and prayed for the healing of a member of the family who is ill. As we sat in the hospital together, sometimes talking, sometimes just enjoying the comfort of each other's company and the silence of our memories, I found a fresh perspective.

First, I was reminded of the importance of family. I was 5 years old when I last saw the cousins that I spent the weekend with, and as I talked and laughed with them I wished it had not been that long. Friendships are important, and for some that may be the only family you know. But don't let an illness be what it takes to bring you closer to your family.

Second, I developed an intolerance for the petty complaints of the day. On returning to the hotel one evening I checked Facebook only to find that I could not stand to read the posts. After spending all day in the hospital with someone I love dearly, my first impulse was wanting to punch everyone who wrote endlessly of how they nearly died when the internet was out for a few hours, or how they hate their parents for a curfew.

Are we really spending our time worrying and complaining about these things? It breaks my heart to see where my generation invests its time. Is getting drunk on the weekend and posting pictures on facebook really the highlight of life?

I know that I am equally guilty of quickly becoming annoyed. The list of little things that I allow to control my attitude and perspective is long. If my hope was truly in Christ, would I be consumed with complaints when something small goes awry?

After this weekend, the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 have become a challenge for me: "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

As hard as it is to sit in the hospital room and be thankful, or to sit at home with no internet and rejoice, an attitude of gratitude will help us to be content in our circumstances and to invest our time and energy in what matters most. Don't cry over your loss of internet, find a way to make your time without it meaningful. Don't sit and worry when a loved one is ill, connect with family and celebrate their life.