Lately I have found myself thinking about what I really see as valuable in life, what exactly I want to devote my time to more, and how it is that I learn to decide that. Something that I noticed in myself, and in many of the young people in my life, is that we are often times inspired and driven by many of the amazing opportunities and open doors that we see in life. We are eager to pursue a career and see what we can make out of it. We are eager to grow intellectually and read and understand as much as we can about the world that surrounds us.
In contrast to this, I notice that older people, people who have been through many of the various challenges of life, often times spend less time with intellectual and occupational pursuits, and more time focusing on the people that matter most to them. It is as though a change happens as they get older, and they start to see the value of the people around them. In contrast to younger people, older people seem to have a deeper appreciation for building deep, meaningful relationships.
I myself notice that even though I see these things and understand them, I still constantly feel the tug of ‘productivity’. It is often easy to stay within my personal bubble of work and school and group and books and to minimize the significance of time spent with other people. After all, it is so time consuming, and often demands my coming out of my personal comfort bubble. People are often so ungrateful and negative, and come at me with their own set of problems. It so much easier to focus on my own issues rather than look deeply into the lives of the people around me. So much time and money that I spend on others – wouldn’t it be more productive to cut back on that and save it? Work some extra hours…
And there goes that word again – ‘productive’…
But how do we weigh the value of passing days?
I notice that very often we are consumed with this drive for accomplishment and achievement – we loose a sense of the priceless value of things that don’t hold a measurable price tag. Our culture is so fast paced, so money/achievement driven, that sometimes we feel guilty about just sitting down and thinking, or having a meaningful conversation. Or worse, we forget that these things exist.
And so lately I have been really thinking about how and why I spend my time. I have been once again reminded of the value and richness of getting deeper into the lives of the people around me. After all, this is at the core of the christian gospel. We are placed into this world to be a meaningful influence, to make an impact, to shine the light of the amazing change that God has worked in us. This does not only include the act of actually talking about biblical things; if our whole heart, mind and soul has been impacted by the truth, then all that comes out of this transformed life is a testimony to the Truth that has shaped it. In light of this – all relationships, conversations, interactions carry deep and long-term value.
What is more – there is deep intrinsic value in the heartbeat of every person on this planet. From a christian perspective PEOPLE are the principle means for which the universe was created and the greatest thing that God invests himself and his love into. Each person hold eternal value and an amazing capacity to live for meaning and purpose beyond anything we can imagine. Keeping this in mind makes every conversation so much more valuable and enriching.
So, how do we spend our lives? What do we invest into? In all the important things in life I am learning that it is critical that I remember the priceless value of friendship. No matter how busy and challenging life gets, I am seeing that I need to always stand on the conviction that people are always worth the investment.