What Really Matters?
I’ve been working on “housecleaning” this blog, and I came across this article. I thought it might be worth sharing again. As one year comes to a close and another is on the threshold, it is an opportunity for each of us to consider what really matters. The article below was written in August of 2010 and is as true today as it was when I wrote it.
An interesting conversation
Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a dear friend while we visited a beautiful spot called Fish Point. The conversation turned to things that are important to people—and it started a life review for me—and an evaluation of what is really important to me now. I have done this before and it’s time to review it again as it should be for all of us periodically. I have never shared these musings before—with anyone. But perhaps they will help you think through what really matters to you.
To understand what I’m saying, you need to know a bit about my life—and it has been long, varied, exciting, sometimes a bit exotic, and always interesting.
Growing up we had little of value but were close as a family. I didn’t know we were poor because we always had what we needed and the house held plenty of laughter.
As a teen, I began to think of priorities and what was important. God was first in m life, and I was a seeker of Truth — still am. When I left home to enter a school of nursing, I was intent on being of service, perhaps becoming a missionary, wanting more of spiritual/religious things. I wanted more God. This has been a pattern that has held throughout my lifetime.
The middle years
After leaving home, I became a convert to Catholicism, spent nine years in a convent, and left because I was disillusioned (I didn’t see us walking our talk). I moved to Arizona, taught nursing at Arizona State University, met and married a politician, and had two sons. My husband was elected to the U.S. Congress, and during that time I experienced life in overdrive. I met people whose names were in the headlines, dined at the White House and traveled the country speaking. My name in publications and my picture was on a magazine cover. I wrote a book which I consider one of the worst ever published—but nevertheless, I wrote it. My motivation? The publishing company asked me to write it and mother-in-law said I wasn’t capable of writing a book. How’s that for motivation?
Through the years, after my brief stay at ASU, I served as the Administrator of Nursing at a Phoenix hospital and later was appointed to a position of responsibility in the state department of health services. I started, grew and sold a company. After the sale of the company I studied hypnotherapy and started my own therapy practice. I also raised two boys pretty much by myself, and I am proud of how they turned out.
There have been a few times that I was afraid of life— but mostly I have met it head-on. I have had a very good life.
Summing it up
To sum it up I have lived with and without abundance. I have known both love and disappointment, experienced the death of my marriage and of people I loved dearly. Also, I have known both great sadness and incredible joy. Through it all, I have searched for God and for Truth, for meaning, grace and for peace.
What I have found that does NOT matter is stuff. Money is necessary in our culture, but I don’t long for great amounts of it— just enough for what I need. Contentment or happiness doesn’t come to me in designer labels, a big house or expensive cars. I don’t have to hobnob with people in the news to be happy nor do I crave recognition. I have touched on each of these and did not find what I longed for.
What really matters
For me what matters is kindness, integrity, being real and trying to get rid of phoniness wherever and whenever it appears in my life. I cherish relationships with people who can carry on wonderful conversations, can laugh and enjoy life, can reach out to others, who aren’t caught up in striving to be someone they are not. I long for someone to sit with me, please me with sweet kisses, hold my hand and finish this process of growing old side by side, laughing and loving all the way to the last breath.
While my concept of God has changed over the years, my search has been richly rewarded, and I am at peace.
As I finish this I hear the words of Jayne Relaford Brown in her poem, “Finding Her Here”:
I am becoming the woman I wanted,
Grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep weathered basket.
I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty, plenty to share.
I hope my ramblings on this blog have somehow helped you on your own journey.
An afternote: I have found the person I said I “longed for” and it’s even better than I could have imagined. You don’t get too old for love or for happiness. Hang in there.