Monday, July 18, 2011

The Journal Again

Fr. Dale Matson

Although a major issue for those of us who are officially retired is the wise use of time, I believe the wise use of time is just as important for those who are still employed. Whether we like it or not we all need a supervisor and I am not talking about a spouse, although spouses can be excellent consultants.

Life, like committee meetings can be divided up into topics for discussion and topics for action. Much of my life is spent replacing consumables like a box of Kleenex, filling the dogs’ food dishes, mowing the lawn (I’m contracted with the women of the house till I am 70), or gassing up the SUV. It seems like our weekly trip to Costco is every other day but the food is good and cheap and that is our meal out every week. More and more my replacements have a lifetime warranty (my lifetime anyway) like the new shingles on our roof.

What keeps me moving along singing a song? I am accountable to the journal that begins each day following my devotional. What did I do the previous day that is worth recording beyond replacing the consumables in my life? Yes, yes I record my dreams but even my dreams seem to lack the pizazz they once had. Dreams must be partially powered by hormones?

I tend to focus on the general categories of the activities of daily living (ADL). Did you contact a friend or relative? Did you exercise aerobically or with weights? Did you spend time in prayers? Did you write another chapter in your book? Increasingly, my actions are directed at fulfilling little good works. Did you write that “Thank you” or the “Way to go!” email? They are replacements of consumables too. They are reciprocating good will. Did you call someone to see how they are doing?

I had a longtime friend say to me on the phone the other day, “You’ve set a lot of goals and attained them. What is next for you?” I’d like to continue to extend a hand up to others. My gift is exhortation. While direct service delivery provides ego food (fast food indeed!), indirect service delivery is more effective. One advantage to being an ordinary person is that lots of folks can identify with my struggles and yes, the successes also.

The good works often go unobserved but are in response to a reminder from the Counselor who often comes alongside others through us. He is the master of the little kindnesses. He is the one Who looks after others through us.

We all have been assigned the good works of the Kingdom. So much of our work goes on unobserved and oft times unappreciated. That is why we keep a personal accounting of ourselves; not to be self-righteous but to hold ourselves accountable for the “talents” God has given each of us. A journal is a marvelous tool for this purpose. Amen             

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