“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives; and how we spend our lives, of course, determines the person we become.” – Keith Shields, Thirst
If I spend my days writing, I will become a writer. If I spend my days leading, I will become a leader. If I spend my days painting, I will become a painter. If I spend my days wasting time on frivolous pursuits, I will become a waster of time.
At a certain point in my life I dreamed of becoming a traveling singer-songwriter who made his living as an entertainer. I spent some time writing songs, singing, and even entertaining. Yet, I spent much more time working as a Lab Scientist in a Molecular Diagnostic Lab, studying theology at Regent College, being a father to my children, and being a husband to my wife. In that time, I became a Lab Scientist, a student, a father, and a husband (occasionally I got the order of these wrong). I did not become a professional entertainer. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives; and how we spend our lives, of course, determines the person we become.
Today is the day to take a one or two hour meditative break. Get away to a quiet place, alone with your thoughts, and make some decisions about how you want to spend your days, how you want to spend your life, and the person you want to become. One or two hours may not be enough. Perhaps you will need to take two or three days away at a retreat centre in quiet meditation, deep thinking, and active listening to your mind and spirit. Retreats of this nature work best when guided by the ancient words of scripture and the companioning words of others who have been in a similar place. Annie Dillard spent a full year in quiet contemplation on the banks of Tinker Creek, meditating, exploring, and writing about what she saw. In the process, she became an influential writer and penned Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Who will you become? Time moves on at a constant pace; but feels ever more rapid. The way we spend our hours, will be the way we spend our days, will be the way we spend our lives, and will determine who we are. Will we be unintentional or intentional about the person we become?