We all have these lists, taped on our fridge, bookmarked between the pages of the books or memorised by heart. To-do list; one that gives meaning and adventure to our lives, a list that everyone is encouraged to make.
1) Gotta study journalism in an Ivy league university
2) Visit at least 100 different countries
3) Adopt 10 orphaned kids
4) Own a house in a countryside at an exotic locale
Even though my list is incomplete, it is one that is memorised by heart. But when I started reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love today, I realised what was fundamentally wrong with this list that kept growing with each passing day. It fuelled my ever-hungry need to have more rather than appreciate what I already had.
Just few days back I was at a rich man’s house, more like a palace. When he took us out on the balcony, he sat down with a sigh on a swing that gave a beautiful view of his million dollar property. “I have been staying at this house for the past three years, but this is first time I have sat on this swing.”
I am never going to have that beautiful view from house, but I felt sad not for myself but for he that guy. Sad because the one who could have the luxury didn’t realise what he was missing out on. I understand he is very busy — he was flying out of town next day, the family is opening up a new store in Dubai and they had just got done with a calendar shoot in London with one of Bollywood’s top actress — but what’s the use if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labour?
The author, Francis Chan, started the book with his first chapter titled “Stop praying”, one that I dived into immediately because of its scandalous title. Francis Chan said that you need to stop praying and start listening to God, among other fantastic concepts.
It reminded me of the poster that my grandfather used to have in his house — You only have one mouth but two ears, so that you could talk less and listen more.
It also reminded me of my insecurity, one that I struggle with on a daily basis. I compare myself with others and even when I am doing it, I know it is a foolish thing to do. Very foolish indeed because I end up feeling crappy about myself. If someone is writing more articles at work, I feel I am not smart or good enough. If I suffer from some ailment, I feel God is conspiring against me. If someone gets something that I always wanted, I feel I am born to be a loser.
And that’s why I heard the words loud and clear while I was taking a midnight walk; loud and clear, I kid you not —
Stop Seeking and Start Seeing.
The 4S that were a slap against my ungrateful face. I feel we all need to have not just a to-do list, but also a rear-view life list. One that makes us realise that hope is closer than what it appears. Love that is never out of reach as we toil to reach out for things that the future holds. Faith that things are always and will always remain in His control.
A list that lifts our heart and does not focus on the emptiness in our lives that the world makes one believe can only be filled with material things.
1) Courage to forgive a person who ruined my childhood.
2) Strength to look past the errors grown-ups made; their careless decisions that left a lasting impact.
3) Humility to let go of my ego and admit that I haven’t got it all figured out. Humility to admit how messed up I am.
4) Hope in the love of Jesus that completely changed who I am, and for that I am grateful.
Yes, I need to stop seeking and start seeing. I need to see the truckload of blessings that my life is already full of. When the present is painful and future equally bleak, I need to look at my past and be renewed.
So the moral of the story, apart from the aforementioned is that I need to take more such midnight walks; as long as I am not mistaken and chased with sticks for being a forlorn ghost by my neighbours.