Thursday, November 12, 2009

Golf balls and beach stones

On my kitchen counter I have fashioned my own visual aid about keeping my priorities straight. It's from an email I received a while ago that went something like this:

A teacher had a glass jar on his desk and began filling it with golf balls. He asked his students, "Would you say this jar is full?" "Of course", said the kids, there was no room to put anything else in it. Then he took some pebbles and shook them in the jar, filling in the spaces around the balls. "Now is it full?" the teacher asked. "Most definitely full. There is no more room," replied the students. Next, he pulled out a container of sand and shook it in the jar. Every gap was filled. "Now is it full?" he asked. The students were afraid to answer. "Maybe," they said. Finally he took a can of beer from under his desk, opened it, and poured its contents into the jar. "NOW it's full, " the teacher said.

The golf balls are things of your highest priority. Your family, your relationship to God, your friends, your health. Always put these in your life first.

The pebbles are the other important things in your life. Your work, your responsibilities to your home, your hobbies and extra curricular activities. If you put these first, you won't have room for your most important priorities.

The sand is the minutia of life. The things you do that eat up your time and you don't have much to show for it. Like TV, surfing the Internet for hours, excessive playtime at bars/video games/sporting events, worrying about things you cannot control, cleaning the top of el refrigerador. (These are my ideas of time wasters, BTW.) If you fill your life with these things, there is obviously no room for anything else, and you haven't accomplished much with the life God gave you.

The beer. "Well", says the teacher, "there's always time for beer" (good times). But notice it was the last item added, not the first. Too much of a good thing can get you landed in jail or rehab.

My jar is filled with golf balls and beautiful stones I found on the beach at Lake Michigan. I opted out of the sand and beer, because I want to clearly focus on my priorities. Which, by the way, can change from week to week. When we found out a dear friend of ours was in the hospital in Indianapolis, the jar shifted and he became the priority. The bills can wait, and the dust can settle one more day before it's swept away. Our friend needed us.

Speaking of sweepers, wouldn't you know the last time I used one, it ate the cord and USB port of my new headset. I know you're getting sick of me whining about this, but this is getting ridiculous. So I went back to my oldest one. Before I re-jimmied my computer sound system again, I was literally shouting my answers to Rosetta. Thank God no one else was at home at the time!

One particular phrase that was impossible for me to get across to her was, "Donde vive usted?" (Where do you live?) The only way she would accept my response is when I said it with a loud lisp - the kind you make when you stick out your tongue and hold it while you're talking. "Thonde biba uthed." Like I said, she likes playing with you.

Tuesday night, I spent my hour in the chapel, reading and translating a wonderful little pamphlet on how to meditate in front of the Holy Eucharist. More or less like a tick sheet on what to pray about while you're there. The nice thing about it being in two languages, is that I can truly understand it. [Here's where my daughter would interject how a class taught in English might help...]

Que piensas? (What are you thinking of ?) Poco y poco (little by little). Pray for salud (health), memoria (memory), feliz (happiness).

Ahora bien (well), that's it for now!

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