The Most Important Thing
984 words, about a 5 minute read
Something in your life is the most important thing for you to be doing right now. What is it?
I set aside a couple of hours to write today but things, circumstances, and people kept getting in the way.
First, it was the bathroom ceiling fan.
It was humming loudly, as it does, drawing in air just fine. But this afternoon (I pretended it was for the first time), I noticed that the beige vent was covered with dust. I immediately set to remedy the situation because, obviously, it had to be taken care of that very minute. Rolling up some sheets of the paper available, I stood up and on the porcelain's edge to clean. The soft paper, under my expert direction, did manage to push the dust around; but, alas, it did not remove it. Dampened cotton swabs did a better but still imperfect job. Dark dust tried to hide but was unable to hide from me: I saw it in the corners.
I decided I had to go to the next level: I had to take the plastic cover off. Two supporting wires kept the cover from falling once I had pulled it down; I squeezed the wires ever so gingerly, not wanting them to break. Success! Cover off. Rinsed it in the sink, dried it, and put it back where it belonged. Turned the fan on to test. It hummed every bit as loudly as before but was now at least the vent was clean. Done.
Where was I? Oh, right: writing. But other thoughts barged in. Have I had enough to eat? I checked in with my stomach. It turned out I had. I need to complete my prayers. Did. I wonder if this is a good time to call X? Sent a text. It was! He would be good to talk in fifteen minutes. I went on Facebook to bridge the time.
And so it went. As it has dozens (more accurately, hundreds) of times before. I found reasons, good enough reasons, not bad reasons but good ones, to delay what I knew knew knew was the most important thing for me to be doing at that time.
Writing may or may not be the most important thing for you to do, dear reader. (Whether it is or not, I recommend the pain/ joy of writing as an effective way of finding out what you think.) Your most important thing could be, probably is, something else. It could be cleaning the house, specifically the bathroom fan. It could be contacting friends; or being on time for your job for a change; perhaps it is the loving care you want to express to your child by watching her play her first basketball game today. Or working on that painting, or fixing that dinner; or going to the dentist and finally getting that bothersome tooth checked out. Maybe it is helping that neighbor who you think needs help even if he has not asked for it, first by asking if you may, then by helping if he says yes.
Maybe it is practicing extensively and becoming very good at a sport.
The most important thing for me to be doing (writing) has often been pushed to the side. I have said to myself, and aloud to others, that writing is the most important thing for me to do; but then, hours later, even with time, energy, and mood available, I catch myself not actually doing it. As if by proclaiming it aloud the most important it somehow, magically, without my effort or participation, gets done.
Let me tell you: it does not.
I have promised myself, and others, I would write, and have delivered; but have not always, not nearly as much as I would like to. Can.
This repeating cycle, of course, makes the situation worse than if I had not promised myself, or others, in the first place. And, soon enough, the cycle becomes a habit. Moves from my conscious awareness to my unconscious presumed reality. It becomes a less productive practice.
It is a practice/ habit that may even lead me to a lesser life than I might have otherwise lived.
Saying I am something, or saying I am going to do something, and then not being, or not doing, the something makes me, at best, undependable; and, at worst, a liar. A liar to myself, and others.
There is another word for this sort of folk, this teller-of-falsehoods-to-oneself-and-others: a hypocrite.
I have to write. I cannot not. I have to express myself and say what I think, verbally and in written words. It is my most important thing. I know this. In what I write, in the conversations I have with others, the podcasts I record, in all the ways I express myself, I want to be of use to others. To be of helpful use to you, dear reader, to you now reading this. A particular piece or even the sum of what I have ever written may, or may not, be of use to you, or others. Ever. But I have to write, to express, regardless, because it is the most important thing for me to do. The most important for me and the most important for my relationship with the Universe.
Is writing, is expressing, encouraging, perhaps even inspiring the primary reason I am alive? It is at least of the reasons.
My question to you, and I ask because you are smart enough and self aware enough to consider it: what is the most important thing for you to be, and to be doing? What do you believe, be-live? Are you being and living it?
There is a time and a place and a purpose for everything under heaven, both the song by the Byrds and the book of Ecclesiastes says. I agree.
What is your most important thing to do now?
a LukeyoutheU essay
Marylander by birth
Californian since 1993
about Jake Knight