Page 265 was a Friday which means my work responsibilities began early in the morning and ended late at night. As I went about my usual early morning tasks, I thought about our anniversary trip the day before. It reminded me of a truth that has been said by a number of people in a variety of ways — your real priorities are not reflected in what you say is important but rather in what you actually do. Many times our priorities are put to the test because the important things that we want to do are not always easy and may require us to sacrifice something else — something that may also be good.
I feel fortunate to have grown up in a family that did life together. Mom and dad worked the farm together, which they continue to do, and everyone was not only part of the family, we were all a part of the work and enjoyment that filled the family. Yes, I remember the hard work, but I also remember doing it together. I also remember the trips. Whether Christmas vacations to Florida, or even California one year, or simply day or afternoon trips to regional and local parks, the trips were always about being together and about exploring — at least that’s the way I remember it. Looking back, I can see that a common denominator in the things we did was that they were either free or very inexpensive — but they were also the things I learned to enjoy.
Anyhow, fast forward some forty to fifty years and I find myself applying a lot of those lessons I learned in my childhood. Working together to provide for a family and finding time to discover the beauty of creation is not always an easy combination. Add to the mix a daughter who, because of a variety of neurological conditions, is in many ways a perpetual eight year old with limited mobility, and the task of spending time together exploring natural settings becomes even more complicated. But that’s the lesson of priority that I learned from my parents . . . and from God. It isn’t always easy, in fact it rarely is, but we find ways to make it not only work, but to be enjoyable by all. We adjust work schedules. We take advantage of even small windows of opportunity — you can see a lot in just an hour or two if you find a local park and start walking and looking. We stay and watch a sunset, knowing we still have a 3+ hour drive home with work in the morning. We invest in a rugged wheelchair that I can push through many park trails. When that doesn’t work, we spend more time either going at a much slower pace or taking turns exploring. We do what it takes because these are things we can do, and enjoy doing, together as a family and that’s a priority to us!
Anyhow, sometimes I can be deep in thought before the day barely begins. 🙂 Once the building was ready, I took the time to write the previous day’s page as we had not gotten home until nearly midnight. My morning was filled with typical tasks and by early afternoon I took a break for lunch. After lunch I drove to the park, but it was too hot to spend much time outside so I headed back to work and began to clean and get the building ready for Sunday. As I worked, I would take “mini-breaks” to share some of the photos from the previous day’s adventure. It seems that about the time I begin to start thinking that I post too many photos that nobody but me even cares about, God will use a few people to remind me that they are also able to explore and discover the beauty of creation through the photos I take and share. There are very few things, if any, that God gives us that are only for us — most, if not all thing, are meant to be shared. During one of those little breaks, as the sun was beginning to set, this flicker on a tree outside my window caught my attention. Every time I see them clinging to the side of a tree as they search for a meal within the tree’s bark, I am amazed at the handiwork of God.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- We either intentionally set priorities or we allow them to occur by default.
- Intentional priorities are almost always more beneficial and productive.
- Most of what you wish you could do will likely not happen until you make it a true priority.
- Even the the things you know God wants you to do will often go undone until you choose to give them the importance they deserve.
- Making something a priority does not mean it will be easy. Often priorities will require a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice — it is the priority status that keeps us pursuing it.
- God has created us to be people who share and who benefit from the sharing of others.
- Watching the things God has created helps me to see a God who specializes in uniqueness and in the equipping of everything, and everyone, for the work He created them to do.