Saturday, 4 April 2009

Filey Parish: Blogging for Lent- The best laid plans

As I wrote in my last blog, you can plan assiduously and things can still go wrong with alarming frequency. Some people plan for their futures while they are still young. They may study hard because they are told this will bring them rewards later in life, will secure them better jobs and help provide for their families. For some this does actually transpire and it is quite natural for them to look back on their lives and see cause and effect in operation; they worked hard and consequently reaped the rewards. But is it this simple? For some people things do not work out so easily, despite their having planned well and worked hard. They find themselves, through no apparent fault of their own, with little to show for a lifetime of ‘doing the right thing’. To use a well worn phrase, circumstances seem to have conspired against them.
For most of us though, I suspect that we fall somewhere in the middle. In some areas of our lives we indeed appear to have fallen short of our plans and dreams, whilst in others we have enjoyed at least a measure of relative success. This can happen in cycles of seemingly productive and unproductive periods, when things go quite well for a while and we think we’re getting somewhere but then everything appears to stall or even go backwards for a time. Sometimes it’s simply that we are apparently much better ‘at being’ one thing than another; so we might always have enjoyed success in our chosen careers whilst our home lives have left a wreckage trail of broken promises and failed relationships behind us.
When we look back, the yardsticks we use to measure our perceived achievements are often far too limited. We put too high a value on things which society tells us are important and too little value on things that, although we may not hold honours degrees in, should score very highly.

And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:3-5 (New International Version)

Was the writer thinking of personalised number plates when they wrote this? Perhaps not, but maybe people should be encouraged to plan more meaningful things into their lives right from the beginning so they can measure their lives by different yardsticks. Children need to see more importance being placed on bearing ‘fruit that will last’, ‘imperishable fruit’. And I’m not talking bananas!

Here endeth the lesson!

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