I figure I'm about half way through now, if I calculate my life expectancy based on the example of my mom's sisters. Tante Leine's life will be remembered tomorrow at the little church across the street from my house, and I wonder how she measured success? Or did she? Did she ever stop to ask questions of herself?
My questions dance to the tunes of Ken's music, gifted to me by his friend the night we celebrated his life. His life lived too short, too bright.
What's to become of us? I sometimes whisper in my husband's arms. I'm joking; kind of. But how WILL we measure success? Or do I only ask that question of myself?
It's not as if I don't have any skills. Do they make me enough money to join the better half of every-frikkin-one who seems to go on winter holidays these days? Nope. Does it matter if they make money? I guess so- it sucks to have a big shortfall every month; and I like throwing the occasional "Joe- fresh" sweater into my cart at Superstore without having decide between that and cheddar cheese for the family. Making a bit of money is just part of getting on with life.
Its just that I know I don't want to define success that way. Oh, it would be great if I could indiscretionately throw money at the #@! van and not have to crawl through the back hatch, when the unlock button laughs insolently in my face. (see "Why I should NEVER leave... ) I know that money doesn't make people happy, but I don't see those rich people in their fancy SUV's crawling over bags of reduced meat and bread in the grocery parking lot either...
But I digress. I know people with money who live in fear, and I know people without money who live life big and unafraid.
If I was assertive and I had a memory that spanned further than the tendons in a gnat, I could go back to school and make something of myself. Or maybe someday, I could get discovered and become Blunder-ville's very own Miriam Toews. Or, I could get good at marketing and revisit my sewing machine. I used to do a brisk business making stuff and selling it, till I figured out how to do math, and realized that I was keeping most of the fabric world employed, while slowly starving my family to death. (It was awfully nice to be emaciated though.... )
I used to measure success by the numbers on the scale, but that's not working for me anymore. It got really dull, and sort of addictive. Besides, we have dinner parties nearly every Friday night and the food is to die for. There is NO WAY I'm going to measure my achievement by saying "no" to all that culinary prowess and taste bud tantilizing pleasure.
I could look to my kids as a measure of my success, but that seems awfully risky. I mean, have you ever noticed that kids are actually separate entities? There's only so much credit that you can lawfully take, and after that you've got to calculate in the grace of God, a million or two environmental influences, and the whole bunch of other factors. Besides, what are you gonna do when one or two of them decide to get strung out on drugs for a while? Blame yourself? Seems kind of useless to me. There's just way too many variables for a control freak such as myself to use the parenting experiment as my indicator for success.
There is of course, the big eternal aspect. And for me, that goes without saying. I want to get to know God more all the time. I want peace to grow. I want to live a life challenged and fertilized by love. I want to believe in His goodness regardless of popular opinion. Those things are central to success playing itself out, but I still ask these other questions. How will I know?
And so the question remains unanswered.
I don't know what Tante Leine would have said.
I suspect Ken's defining achievements would also have to do with loving others.
How do you think you measure success?
And how should I?