I Have Stuff

I’m at a stage in my life where I basically have all the toys. I’m aware that things can change in a New York minute, but for now, I’m set. It’s almost embarrassing.

These days, I’m not out looking to see what I can add to my accumulation of goodies.  I don’t need anything more. I have stuff. What I’m looking for now are experiences.

My lovely Bride and I just returned from a few days in Nashville where we spent a lot of time perusing shops of all kinds. We saw a lot of cool stuff. In years gone by, I may have dropped a lot of cash on some of those tidbits. As it was, I don’t think I frittered a dime on anything to bring home for myself.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t spend any money. In fact, I spent plenty. But almost everything I spent was on another experience. We took in museums, went on tours, and had some of that hot chicken for which Nashville is famous. To drink in the culture, we walked up and down Broadway, viewed the sights, and listened to the street musicians and bar bands. We met our adult children there, ate and drank together, and laughed until we cried (literally).

“I spent time…”

What I really spent was not hard, cold currency. I spent time—probably the most precious commodity we have. We only get so much of that, and these days, I’m attempting to spend it sagely.

Although our lifespans are uncertain, there are a few things about time that are a more defined. For example, we each are allotted twenty-four hours a day—no more, no less. What we do with those hours is often up to us as individuals. If we spend a third of it sleeping, that leaves sixteen to work, eat, and accomplish whatever else we’re inclined to try. When I think of it in those terms, it surely doesn’t sound like much.

We can’t bank any of it to spend in a week or two. We can use some of it to plan ahead, but even that is a gambling proposition. We’re not guaranteed any tomorrows.

Dying of Boredom

So, when I do get a little spare time, I shoot for an experience, a little knowledge, or some involvement. If I fail to do that, my time will be lost. I’ll never find it, and I’ll never get it back.

I was in a shop recently where I ran across a placard that had the following quote: “I’d rather die of excitement than of boredom.” I’m not sure if I want to die of excitement, but I’m reasonably sure I don’t want to die of boredom either. I’ve only got a few years left, so I’m determined to pack a few more enjoyable events into them.

Some of those events will be times of serving others. While doing so is not always exciting, it’s never boring. If I’m going to spend time, I may as well invest it wisely.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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