In times past, a string around an index finger was the universal symbol of a reminder. Today, I have reminders virtually everywhere. I believe every electronic device I own will remind me of the things I need to do. My e-mail, phone, and iPod – all have calendars with alarms to tell me what to do. The running joke for those of us who use the e-mail calendar “Outlook” is the reminders come so frequently that most of us don’t even bother to read them. I just click it off with only a glance. As I write this, my Outlook calendar says I have “17 Reminders”. Hopefully, most of it got done because it will be several minutes until I take the time to sort through them.
In addition to these reminders, I have many people in my life who remind of the things I should be doing. It’s a given that my pastor reminds me every week what a Christian life should contain. My early twenties daughter reminds me I should be dressing, behaving, and generally paying attention to modern culture. Friends at the gym remind me to work and not talk. Coworkers remind me to work and not talk. My boss reminds me to work and not …well you get the idea.
Sometimes in today’s world, I really wonder if I ever have to think for myself and remember anything. It is so easy to get into routines and follow the lists of to do tasks and reminders – to not think for myself and just do what I am “supposed to do”. When I get the time, I actually think about the things I want to do and my thoughts are where I want them, I realize that I should spend my time very differently than my reminders show. I should be doing less administration and spending much more time with the people we serve. I should be doing more for the others around me and worrying much less about whatever silly daily task I have let bog my day down. Sometime along the way, I really should look at the good we do for the folks who need us. Productivity isn’t the paperwork I produced, but the lives we changed.
My next reminder on my Outlook calendar should say “make someone smile” or “check in on someone who is alone.” The beauty of working at Faith in Action is that if I just work hard and fast enough I can do just that and still keep up with the reminders that never stop. I think I will create a reminder for each day of the week that will improve the lives of those around me. Maybe if I write enough reminders I can make a difference to those who use CFIA. It’s worth a shot. Now if someone will just remind me to do it.
Thanks to Lori Fry at Collinsville Faith in Action for this week’s blog.