Life as a Conscientious Hourglass

What do we have to show for our lives?
What would your eulogy sound like?
Who would attend your funeral?
What have you done with each minute you have been given to live?

Until I was unemployed for a season, I was not aware of how much of my identity was wrapped up in what I do for money. And I wonder how true that is for others. After all, the working person spends the majority of their waking week at work. This is why what we choose to do for work, and whom we choose to work for, is so very important. Then I realized that to even think about having such a choice is luxury that is afforded to very few.

Thoughts flooded into my head as I gazed at the large-scale, outdoor, art installation titled “Thirst” that was a project of the Women & Their Work Gallery in Austin, Texas.

The project was meant to “engage Austinites, visually and powerfully, on the matter of water — our most precious, scarcest resource.” The installation, which was unveiled “September 29, 2013, featured a dead, 35-foot-tall cedar elm tree, painted ghostly white, hovering over the surface of Lady Bird Lake.” “Fourteen thousand Tibetan-style prayer flags — wistful white squares silkscreened with that central, spectral image — were strung from trees in a 2.5-mile loop.” (Source: Austin Culture Map)

Holly Brown
This installation was visually compelling & convicting. Yes, I thought of water. However, I was spurred further – to think of an even more precious & scarce resource – our time on this earth.

Whilst Egyptians spend their waking hours demanding democracy, I churn ideas in my Thinker from the comfort of a quiet, lovely dog park in a lazy democracy.

While Syrian refugees beg for the chance to gain employment in the country in which they take refuge & take great risks to fulfill their basic needs in whatever way necessary, I utilize my short time of unemployment to re-familiarize my body with my mind and spirit.

And, as Syrians endure civil war, my government shows me grace and provides for my basic needs as I search for my next opportunity to contribute to my society and do my small part to financially contribute to a government that has my best interest at heart.

It hit me just how democratic my exploration of how we spend our time really is. It is such an entitled, obnoxious pursuit – which is precisely why I think we must evaluate our stewardship of such a luxury.

I understand that when we need a job, we must be willing to work in whatever capacity is legal. I have been there. I understand. I worked two jobs for most of my twenties. I have worked for leaders who were not noble and honest people, and I have earned paychecks for doing work that made no “greater good” contribution. I have also contributed to the greater good for next to nil in terms of compensation, or as a volunteer. And what I found was that sometimes I had to work in meaningless roles for a paycheck, but I balanced the scales by doing something meaningful on the side. We cannot always do the most good and get paid for it. But we can always take the time to evaluate the impact of our work – of our lives.

Is it helping or hindering others?
Is it selfish or selfless?
Does it contribute to or take advantage of a person or group of persons?

If we were to display a physical or visual representation of how we spent each hour of our lives to date, what would that display look like? If it shames you to even think about it, then challenge yourself to improve or change.

Create a masterpiece that is as beautiful as you are by making your life mean something.

No comments:

Post a Comment