Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thinking about the bottom line

May 16, 2010
Hello, friends,

We were having lunch and discussing my birthday. My friend asked, “So—what are you going to do with the rest of your life?”

“Good things,” I answered cheerfully. While only partly true, my answer was the best I could manage at the moment in the noisy restaurant.

It was later as I sat thinking, watching afternoon shadows play silently across my desk that I remembered the opening lines of William Stafford’s poem, “Ask Me.”

Sometime when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.

Is what I have done my life?

Did Abraham ask that question when he remembered how Sarah’s knowing eyes met his, then turned away as he stammered, “No, man, no wife—she’s just my sister.”

Did Moses wonder when alone in the empty desert he remembered the blood, and the surprised eyes of the soldier dying at his feet?

Did Paul, that chief of sinners, see again in troubled dreams the faces of the children when smelling the stench and blood of the arena they turned still singing toward their certain death?

We cannot know.

But we know that Paul, traveling to Damascus, had a confrontation with the risen Christ that taught him to place his life—all of it—into a new context. Years later, writing to the church at Rome, Paul said, “I’m absolutely convinced that. . . nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (The Message, p. 323).

Is what I have done my life?
When I reach my bottom line, I think that the answer depends on what I have done with what God in Christ has done for me.

See you next week.



  1. Gay,
    I am so intrigued by that phrase, "is what I've done my life?" It's a very unpopular culturally, isn't it? I looked up the poem because I really wanted to understand the poet's idea better. I'm going to have to chew on this a while. I've messaged several friends to see what ideas they have. Thanks for writing.

  2. Gay,
    Lots of great things to think about. Thanks !

  3. Gay,
    When I first retired from teaching, I frequently asked myself "is what I've done my life".
    Now I know the answer is yes and so much more!
    Laura B

  4. I think it is not that "what I have done" is my life, it is who I am and who I have bcome.
    My life is about being--being in Christ and
    Christ in me. It is the "light" shining through
    This morning I was watching rainbows darting around my livingroom.(I have a little solor powered machine on my window that turns two chrytals and as the sunlight shines through them rainbows dance around the room.)
    I thought about how the Son-light shining through me can be rainbows dancing in the world. I enjoyed that thought. Joan

  5. Just please keep these coming!

  6. Gay,
    Keep the blogs coming. Lots of food for thought:)

  7. I continue praying for you and Charis Counseling.

  8. Love that the blog is getting all this marvelous response. What a great way to do some quiet thinking during the week. Looking forward to the next.