Thursday, March 17, 2011

What really matters.

Sometimes I get so caught up in thinking about clutter and my never-ending quest to conquer it....and I start to lose sight of what really matters. I let my possessions control me -- I know some of you can relate to this. For example, I'll be working through a pile of clutter and suddenly every item has unequaled worth, overwhelming sentimental value, or amazing utility. I get a little nutty.

Those are the times when I need to step back and think about what really, really matters. Is it the souvenir candy dish that once belonged to my grandmother? The 10 bottles of hand lotion that crowd my hall cupboard? The t-shirt celebrating a college event? NO. It's the people I love -- the friends and family that have made me who I am and help me be a better person every day. It's the job I'm fortunate to have. The roof over my head. The food that fills my refrigerator. These things matter -- those little clutter-y extras that I obsess about for HOURS at a time are NOT who make me who I am. They probably detract from who I am sometimes, sadly.

This rings especially true with me right now, as so many people and their families are struggling to overcome the tragedies that happened in Japan. 

So, I leave you with a picture of one of the many gifts in my world that does matter -- and a promise that I'll try to remember this the next time I'm haggling with myself over a half-used notebook.

What matters in your world?


  1. The Mayonnaise Jar and Coffee
    ~Author Unknown~
    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar...and the coffee...

    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he 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.

    So 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 cups of coffee 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 God, family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions-things that 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. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner 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 coffee represented.

    The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

    A friend sent me that a few years ago, really helps focus your mind on what is important, "stuff" just gets in the way of what is important.

  2. Amy - this is a great lesson in life I think.

    Dreamer - such a lovely story to quote, I think I'll print that one out and show to a few people who need it.

  3. Oh wow, Dreamer -- what a wonderful story!!!!! I have goosebumps. Thank you so much for sharing that...


  4. Hi Wendy! I think so too. And how perfectly did Dreamer's post explain it. I need to put a golf ball on my desk as a daily reminder!!! :)