Thursday, September 21, 2006

15 Minutes of Your Life

I love the story of Joshua leading the Israelites across the Jordan River. I love it for many reasons, and one of them is because God instructed the leaders of the twelve tribes to choose one stone each from the riverbed and build a memorial on the other side. Every time they saw the memorial, they were to remember and talk about the wonders and miracles God had done for them that day.

I believe that each person has been given the amazing opportunity to create their own memorial. That memorial is the story of their life. It pains me to think that there are people who spend whole days, whole lives, without purposely leaving something behind. The moments of our lives should be noticed, recorded, examined (when there's time), and passed on. Everyone, I think, should do something toward writing their life story.

I know, I know, I hear you grumbling. People have all kinds of reasons for not writing their life story. The first one is they don't have any time. But I counter with if you have 15 minutes, you can do something toward getting your life on paper.

The second argument is that their life is boring. Let me tell you, I'm the first one to raise her hand with that excuse. Here's an example of the events of my typical, boring day:

- Wake up
- Let the dog out
- Wake up the kids
- Take a shower
- Brush my teeth, comb my hair
- Get dressed
- Prepare breakfast and eat
- Take kids to school
- Go to work
- Work
- Eat lunch
- Pick up kids at school
- Go home
- Help kids with homework
- Make dinner and eat
- Clean up
- Get kids ready for bed
- Watch TV, read, write, do chores
- Go to bed

That looks pretty routine, pretty mundane. And sometimes this is exactly what an entry in my diary looks like on a night when I'm too tired to pick up a pen. But if I flesh out these routine events, adding some details, observations, or opinions to them, my day reads like this:

  • Wake up. Leon woke me up this morning because the sprinklers woke him up. I was in the middle of a crazy dream about a human-looking alien who could fly and glide.
  • Let the dog out. As soon as she rushed out the back door, she barked and chased a squirrel, which got the dog next door barking.
  • Wake up the kids. No one wanted to wake up this morning. It’s Monday.
  • Take a shower. Without thinking about it, I solved a problem while shampooing my hair.
  • Brush my teeth, comb my hair. No comment.
  • Get dressed. I dressed up a little better than my usual T-shirt and overalls because I had to talk to someone about fundraising at school.
  • Prepare breakfast and eat. Emily actually made frozen waffles for everyone. She’s growing up and taking on responsibility on her own.
  • Take kids to school. We almost didn’t make it because there’d been an accident on Westmont. It didn’t look like anyone was hurt, but I prayed for them anyway. What a terrible way to start your day!
  • Go to work. At home, as usual. I love it and thank God everyday for it.
  • Eat lunch. I decided to treat myself and with a take-out salad. Besides, I needed to stretch.
  • While I was outside, our neighbor was in her yard with her new baby, so I ran in our house to get the baby gift that had been sitting in the front hall for two weeks.
  • Pick up kids at school. They were all late getting out. Andrew’s face was rosy and flushed from P.E., which he had right before school ended.
  • Go home. The garage door slammed down. It needs a new motor or something. I should be more handy, but I usually add something like that to Leon’s “honey-do” list.
  • Help kids with homework. Amazingly, they all did theirs without my nagging them twenty times. Even Andrew. He’s really showing maturity this school year!
  • Make dinner and eat. Julia told us a funny story about some boys at school today batting around a ball made of rubber bands in the quad at lunchtime.
  • Clean up. Okay, here’s where the nagging came in: I did have to remind the girls a few times to clean the coffee pot and wipe the stovetop.
  • Get kids ready for bed. No one wanted to go to bed on time tonight, and Andrew said he needed three bandages for some invisible scrape on his knee. Maybe I just need a stronger pair of glasses, but I didn’t see anything.
  • Watch TV, read, write, do chores. As I folded the laundry that had been sitting in baskets on the floor since Friday, Leon and I watched an interesting documentary on TV about beer-making in America. Who would have guessed?
  • Go to bed. Even though I’m completely exhausted, I love having some time all to myself.

Not exactly exciting, but it definitely sounds a lot more more interesting. It fills in the gaps and adds some sprinkles and sauce to an otherwise vanilla day.

Here's an exercise you can do in 15 minutes:

  1. Take out a notebook or a piece of paper, or open a new file on your computer, or turn on a recording device (a video camera or voice recorder).
  2. Skipping lines, or leaving space between items, write or record a list of everything that happened today in the order they happened. Just jot them down as they come to you.
  3. Look at your list. You’ve already done a lot today, haven’t you? Look how you’ve spent your time so far.
  4. Now, write or record a little detail about each item.
  5. If you want to take this exercise farther, add a comment, an opinion, or a remark about each detail you wrote.

Time’s up. Do you realize that you just did one thing toward writing your life story? And all in a short 15 minutes. You 've just created the first pebble of your memorial stone!

© 2006 Marilyn C. Hilton

1 comment:

Kathi Macias said...

Hi Marilyn:

Love your blog! Good job, my friend.