Are you choosing what’s significant over what’s short-lived?
Alright. It’s a loaded question. And I bet you’re caught for a second – not sure if you want to read on.
Hear me out.
I spent a good portion of the last week in Des Moines with 6,000 of my sisters from the P.E.O. International Sisterhood celebrating the 150th anniversary of our founding. We hail from across the U.S. and Canada and every year give out millions in grants, scholarships, and low-interest loans to women pursuing higher education. We also have our own college – Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri – which we’ve owned outright and supported since 1927. Formed in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in 1869 by seven bright young ladies at a time when women’s education was hardly a foregone conclusion, we have never forgotten to be grateful to God for opportunity. We are drawn together by the core values and virtues to which we adhere: faith, love, purity, justice and truth. Check us out at www.peointernational.org.
Officers are chosen from among our sisterhood of 258,000, and Friday evening, I was standing with one of Iowa’s past state presidents who had been charged with the enormous responsibility of bringing so many women together for 4 days of meetings and parties. Though she had done a brilliant, brilliant job – she was, of course, exhausted – and still considering all the ways that each day could have gone better.
No matter how much goes right (and there was an overwhelming preponderance of excellency here), you will always catch wind of every little thing that doesn’t.
So I encouraged her.
“Look around,” I said. “Just look at all these women enjoying one another and making meaningful connections. Real connections. That’s what matters. You did this. Well done.”
I wanted to elevate the reality of the situation for her, because too often we lose the significant as we chase the ephemeral.
If you are like me…
- you’ve got a to-do list a mile long
- you haven’t called your best friend this week
- you haven’t connected with that new friend you promised you would
- but your phone is almost never beyond arm’s reach
- somehow, you have found time to look at Facebook or Instagram…and you think you know what’s going on in acquaintances’ lives….and that matters to you….
Consistently, we are choosing the short-lived over the significant.
Where are our priorities?
Four days of deep, eye-to-eye contact with women I love from all over the country – some I know very well, some I would give anything to know better – reminded me that THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT.
Working on a long-term vision together.
Revisiting our ideals.
Or just sharing the day-to-day aches and pains.
Breathing new life into one another.
A quick text or a “your kids are so cute” comment on social media is no substitute for longer, substantive, and yes – face-to-face conversations.
We do not intimately know one another until we sit in the same space, hear the tremor in one another’s voices, watch and clasp each other’s hands, and see the crinkles at the corners of our eyes as we speak – or don’t speak – of love, woe, and everything in between.
We use the excuse that we are busy and can’t “get it together.”
We wear it like a badge of honor.
But c’mon. We know better.
We know small efforts yield big results.
So let’s just start.
Let’s get together. For coffee. For conversation. For the sake of love. And life. Women’s education and a sisterhood that endures. The future of the planet. Some other lofty goal that God has put on your heart.
For all that we know is good.
Choosing the significant over the short-lived.