Monday, February 01, 2010

Priorities, Commitments and Stories

I ate lunch with my brother a few days ago. He was in Huntington Beach on a business trip and had a gap in his work schedule. Since he lives in Saint Louis and getting to Orange County was a much shorter trip, I decided to squeeze the 75-minute drive north into my plans for the day. We connected easily enough and we found a place to eat that was not far from John Wayne Airport, from where he was to depart later that afternoon. After exchanging the odd greeting rituals of two middle-aged Caucasian males (more stiff and awkward than ever), I blurted out something about not doing a good job of keeping in touch. My brother simply said that he didn’t even try any more. And then to elaborate, he told the story of one his former bosses who had told him in a similarly awkward moment, “If something is a priority, then you do it.” It seemed an odd thing for him to say in the moment. Even now, I can’t decide if should get mad about what he said, or feel defensive, or just thank the serendipity of God’s universe for using the moment to teaching me an important lesson. Today, I am choosing to check box number 3 on the survey and express my thanks for the wake-up call. There is no point to arguing with the simplicity of this thinking, of course it is true. Our best intentions and rationalizations are simply stories that buffer our egos from a reality that scares us and actually serves to keep us in a state of mild distress over that large list of other things that “we really ought to be doing.” So today, my life seems to be calling me to keep my inventory lists of commitments short, and then to actually deliver what I promise both to myself and to the people who depend upon me.

Posted via web from pkpiano's posterous

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