I just finished watching a movie and it left me with a question I’ve been pondering. It might be a good one for us all to think about. The question is …
If I were not here what would here look like?
Think about that for a minute. I know it’s a little uncomfortable, but really think about it. We live in such a consumer focused society, life is based around us, what we can get, what we have, what we want, and what others can do for us. But shouldn’t it really be more about what here would look like if we were no longer here?
What about at home? What is it we contribute to our home life which would be hard to replace? What about our family in general? Not just those living with us but the rest of our family around us? What is it our families would miss? Are we actively involved in our families to a point where here would be different for them if we weren’t a part of it anymore?
What about our friendship? Are we a friend people can count on when they need someone? Are we there for them? Are we reaching out just to let them know they are thought of? Would their here be different to them if we weren’t here?
Take a look at your job? Sure we’re all productive but what other contributions are we making to our workplace? Is there something special we do others would miss? Those things listed on our job description could probably be replaced by somebody else. But what is it we contribute to our workplace beyond those required of us?
What about any of the other heres we exist in? Organizations? Sports teams? Schools? Churchs? Community? There are whole lot of heres we occupy throughout our life. What would those heres look like if we were no longer a part of them?
There are some people who will most likely need to be more consumers than contributors because of disabilities and circumstances in life. Yet, if we look at a pet who is completely dependant on us, we can’t help but recognize the significance they have to our heres, right? So circumstances don’t necessarily limit how much we can contribute to someone elses here.
How high are our demands? Are our demands and our consumerism outweighing our giving and contributions? If they are, we really need to evaluate our lives and what we’re doing and change it — do something different. We really would need to renew the way we’re living our lives. Remember when we were talking about the word renew earlier on this year, how renew was a part of taking something that was and is and creating it to be? In the evaluation of what would here look like if we were no longer here, we need to take what was and is and look at what we want to create it to be – we need to renew our contributions to our heres.
I don’t think here should necessarily be a sad place when we’re gone. I’m not even talking about gone like dead gone. I’m talking about not present, moving away, changing jobs, life stage changes and maybe friendships phasing out. Here could be as small a window as what does home look like when we’re at work? What does work look like when we’re on vacation?
What contributions are we giving to here? Would there be less smiles? Less laughter? Less work because we help share the load? Less responsibility because we help carry some of it for someone? Less stress?
As we evaluate this question, we need to look at how much we are consuming in all of our heres. If we weren’t a part of a certain here, would someone’s life actually be better? How much consumerism are we bringing to here? Are we such a consumer in a here we occupy that if we were no longer in the here it would actually bring relief to someone else? Would there be less tears because of our selfishness? Less stress because of pressure we place on others? Less work because we demand so much? More freedom because of the expectations we have for others? Would people’s lives be better off because our consumerism would be gone from their heres? Would the pressure to perform to make us happy no longer be there? Are we high maintenance?
And it would be easy for us to count our workplaces and think, “Well I contribute 8 hours a day when I go to work.” But the truth is, during those 8 hours we’re also consuming because we get paid to contribute. We are contirbuting and consuming at the same time. So don’t make it easy on yourself and count those times when you’re contributing and consuming at the same time. Look at the heres where you’re not getting anything for what you’re giving. Count those times when you extend yourself and you help a fellow employee when its not a part of your job, not something you’re getting paid for. Count the times in a here when you do something without an expectation of a return.
Are people better people because of your contributions to their lives? That’s an interesting one to evaluate because helping people be better doesn’t mean we’re always telling them how great they are. Sometimes it’s about being willing to confront people in love about destructive behaviors in their life. Are we someone who’s willing to get involved even if its messy? Step up and risk to help someone else take their next step forward?
The truth is we all need someone sometimes in our lives. There are moments in our lives when we need to be a 100% consumer. But if we were really to evaluate here over a long term basis, what is our consumer rate? Because if we are consuming 60% of the time — we need to make a change.
Let’s look at life a little bit differently as we go throughout our day today. Let’s make it a place where us not being there would be a significant loss. Where we aren’t consumers 90-95% of the time, but maybe we’re only consumers 25-30-35%, maybe even as high as 40% of the time. If we’re honest with ourselves, if we could live lives where we only consumers 40% of the time, it would most likely be a significant change with a measurable impact on someone elses here.
So I leave you with this question …