This week the "Summer Bucket List" has been ever present in my mind. What did we accomplish? What events, places, activities were we able to check off our list? My daughter will tell be quick to tell you about the noticeable absence of the check next to Six Flags. One of my sons will be just as quick to comment on the shortage of tally marks next to mini golf, ten was not nearly enough. Then we have our youngest son, who does not notice the absence of items checked off the list but rather the presence of events, times and memories made and shared together. He delights in the visit with the elephants at Grant's Farm and the souvenir shark tooth from his trip to the beach.
It takes very little effort to focus on the could haves, would haves or should haves. Who doesn't look at their "To Do" list at the end of the day and worry about all the tasks that will slide easily into the top position of tomorrow's list....In the midst of this ever growing list and the shrinking days of summer I wonder if the five year old does not hold the better perspective. What if instead of focusing on the never ending list we took the time to truly engage in our experiences and interactions? How mindful are we really when walking around the zoo with family, or taking in the latest movie in the suite seats? How often are we truly engaged in our experiences with our children, friends and colleagues rather than composing our latest text message or responding to our latest email?
Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as,"the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis."
The Bible speaks to it in the following passage from Isaiah...in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. ... (Is 30:15)
This time of year it is hard to quiet the mind. Sitting amidst the summer bucket list is the school supply list, the impending sport's schedule and the plan for complete organization and routine once school resumes. Preparing for the impending arrival of a new group of eager and energetic Bobcats does not help to quiet the mind. It has become common routine to remind visitors to the office that despite looking at the computer screen I really am listening to their message. As I, and most of us prepare to say good-bye to summer I wonder if we cannot do better. At the end of the day will it be another check on the list or a meaningful interaction with family or friends that matters most. I worry, about the list, the to-do's, the incompletes....But I know that it is relationships, and laughter and tears and conversations had while making eye contact that at the end of the day will move us forward more than any item on a list. The following is a beautiful reminder ~
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Mt 6:25-34)
As we embark on the school year ahead I invite you to join me on this journey of mindfulness and relationship building. Our to-do lists may never quite be finished but we will come to know and enjoy one another. ~