“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.”
– Galileo Galilei
So, I have a question to ask you guys today. And if I were guessing, I’d say it’s probably not one that you get asked very often. What I want to know is this:
How heavy is your life?
Any idea what I mean by that? I’m going to guess that most of you probably put a negative connotation on the word “heavy.” Am I right? That word is thrown around a lot when used to describe not-so-pleasant things. Weight, for instance. (That’s the first thing that would come to my mind.) Or it’s used in various negative phrases…”a heavy heart” or “carrying a heavy burden,” things like that. But today, I want you to think of that word in a drastically different way than you may have before.
Let me explain.
Too often, we find ourselves measuring our lives incorrectly. We measure it in terms of success or status or…the one I despise…money. (Nothing makes me angrier than greed….UGH…but that’s a blog for another day.) We constantly compare ourselves to the Joneses. Do I make as much as he does? Is my house as big as hers is? Is my bank account as fat as it possibly could be? What do I need to do to make more money? To be more this? To have more that?
Frankly, I think we are idiots.
My husband just lost a very dear friend yesterday. In the process of his passing, something has spoken to me so loudly and clearly that I can’t seem to ignore it. All around us are words of comfort to the family and words of praise for the man that he was. Not once…not once…have I heard anything about the amount of money this man had. Or how far he got in his career. Or what kind of car he drove. Or how big his house is.
No. Of course not.
No, I’m hearing his life being described in much more measurable ways than money. It’s the weight of his life I’m hearing about. And let me tell ya, this man had a heavy life.
Most notably, his life was heavy with family. He leaves behind three children who adored him and countless other relations whose lives will now have a gap where he once belonged.
His life was heavy with friends. I can’t count the number of people on Facebook who have changed their profile pictures to one of him in his honor. So many status messages have been shared honoring him and the life that he lead. It doesn’t get much heavier than that, if you ask me.
His life was heavy with dedication. In addition to being a dedicated father and friend, he was a dedicated Mason. Twenty-five years, to be exact. That’s a long time to dedicate to the love of your fellow brothers and to the good that these men do for the world…more than we are probably even aware of.
No, the weight of his life has nothing to do with his money. Not at all. It’s the weight of all of the other things that matter. The weight of the tears that are shed in his absence. The weight of the words of praise that describe the life he lived. The weight of the kindness and compassion he showed towards others while he was here.
The weight of the love that surrounded his life, both given and received.
That is how you measure how heavy a life is, my friends.
So, again, I ask you: How heavy is your life? Are you using the right tools to measure it by?
“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
– Corrie Ten Boom
In memory of our friend Jim Nelson, 1944 – 2014