We all work for meaning and ‘success’ in our lives. Are some of us investing in what doesn’t last and won’t amount to much? What is it that both gives meaning to today and real direction to our lives?
What will be the summation of my life?
And whom should it concern in any case?
Apart from a few family and friends,
Will I be gone from here without a trace?
Few fated to be famous / infamous;
To be inscribed in long history’s log.
So where is meaning for the rest of us,
Whose destiny’s to be a tiny cog?
If great deeds and crucial choices,
Are not ours to wreak and control,
Are we lesser beings, just ‘also rans’,
Fit only for the ranks of the prole?
Does wealth, status, or business success
Do it for us – see how much I get paid!
Or is popularity the crucial norm?
The determinant of making the grade?
Rows of empty benches at my wedding?
Having less than fifty FaceBook friends?
Socially challenged, or socially active?
Rent-a-crowd at my party weekends?
What is the quality that’s key to life?
Who are the people who touch us most?
Is it the hard working, meticulous guy,
Or the scatter-brained but jovial host?
Two priests toiled long years in the same parish:
One serious, dedicated, always on call;
The other disorganised but full of heart.
Which one was remembered long after all?
What wake will my life’s voyage cause?
If I could get to see George Bailey-wise,
What my absence from here would mean,
Would I get, like him, a pleasant surprise?
Viewed from an eternal perspective,
This life is but a transitory phase;
But it holds the utmost importance,
Adding grave weight to mundane days.
What crops are we busy planting here?
What harvest will we reap? ‘At eventide
He will examine thee in love’ – is it then
Our selflessness that will alone abide?
‘When I was hungry, you gave me food.
When I thirsted, you gave me to drink.
Naked, you clothed me, sick, in prison…’
Your actions drew me from the brink.
Practical care, given to the ‘least’:
Cuddles for a child, soup kitchen shifts,
Voluntary counselling broken addicts,
These build capital for heavenly gifts.
Not the high profile, glamorous stuff:
Daily grind for the little, local and least;
Time and elbow grease, all with smiles;
Cleaning bottoms wins a seat at His feast.
What then might be on my grave stone?
‘You always kindly went the extra mile –
This world’s a better place because of you’:
Real caring love, delivered with a smile?