Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Treading Water and A Cheesy Parable

It's not that we're not doing things that I could blog about...Dinosaur-themed birthday parties! School fun fairs! It's just that it feels a little like we're treading water and blogging is not the first priority when you're treading water. Not to mention that we keep forgetting the camera. Besides, most of the time, I just want to complain. And then I think, "How can I complain when we have so much to be thankful for?" And then I just feel bad for being ungrateful.

So, I'm recycling one of those stories you get via e-mail. Usually, I don't care for these things and this one -- like most -- is a little cheesy, but the message is important for me to remember these days. (The message about priorities, not about the beer. I don't drink beer.)

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Start of cheesy parable: When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the story of the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.' The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff."

If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, "I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend."

P.S. What kind of professor would this be? Philosophy? Religion? Corny??

P.P.S. Now send this to everyone you know or the economy will go to hell in a hand basket. Oops. Too late.


Kelly O said...

My first year of having two kids was so hard. I sometimes felt like I was losing my mind. But gradually, bit by bit, I started to get my equilibrium back and things got much easier. Hang in there, tiger.

JCB said...

Thanks Kelly. Part of me sighs in relief at the realization that I'm not alone and that other women (like you) have struggled with this adjustment. The other part, says, "A year?!" Did you say a year?!"

LCM said...

OK, so Todd interpreted the key points of this post as: (and I am not kidding)

1. play a lot of golf
2. Don't clean anything.

JCB said...

LCM - Your comment got me thinking. Other potential messages of this post:
1. Eat more mayo.
2. Save the jars in case you might need them.
3. Sand will find its way into everything.
etc. etc.