The Most Important Thing
5 min read
Something in your life is the most important thing for you to do right now. What is it?
I set aside a couple of hours to write today but things, people, and circumstance kept getting in the way. First, it was the bathroom ceiling fan. It was humming loudly and effectively, as it normally does, drawing in air just fine. But this afternoon (I pretended it was for the first time), I noticed that the vent was covered with dust. I immediately set to remedy the situation because, obviously, it had to be taken care of that very minute. Taking some of the paper available to me, I stood on the toilet, stepping up to clean. The rolled toilet paper, under my expert direction, pushed the dust around but, alas, was not able to adequately remove it. Even with my expert direction and honed cleaning skills. I decided cotton swabs would do a better job. They did. But they still left dark dust in the beige corners.
I figured out how to remove the cover. Pulled it down.
Gingerly squeezing the supporting wires, wires that I was concerned might snap off if I were not careful, I took down the plastic cover. Rinsed it in the sink. Dried it off. Put it back where it belonged. Turned back on the fan. It operated as before but now had a clean vent. 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, to delay what I knew knew knew was the most important thing for me to do.
Writing may or may not be the most important thing for you to do, dear reader. (Whether it is or not, I do recommend the pain/ joy of writing as an effective way of finding out what you think.) Your most important thing can 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, or earning money at your job; perhaps it is loving care of your child by watching her today at her first basketball game. 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 the most important it somehow, magically, without my effort or participation, gets done.
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 liar-to-oneself-and-others: a hypocrite.
I have to write. I cannot not. I have to express myself and say what I think. It is my most important thing for me. What I write, in whatever way I express myself, I want to be of use to others. To be of 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 why I am primarily here in life? I, most of me, when I am in a good mental space, think so.
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. What is your most important thing to do?
a LukeyoutheU essay
Marylander by birth
Californian since 1993
about Jake Knight