On of my favorite things to look for in Chinese parks are the men (it’s almost always men) who write poetry on the sidewalk using a large sponge calligraphy brush:
It’s beautiful, living art.
It’s social with people hanging around and chatting about the stroke order, the ability of the writer, the words written.
It’s also fleeting. Writing with water is a different kind of creative endeavor than working with ink. You know from the beginning it will not last.
Isn’t that an apt summary of life: beautiful, social, fleeting.
As much as I don’t like it, it turns out that most of what I pour my time and energy into is fleeting, at least on the surface. Laundry? Sure it’s done, only to be done again. A great lesson plan leads to mixed feelings of pride, joy, fun, and a bit of a let down (now I need to start on the next one). Whether you are a foodie or live on peanut butter toast, food and dishes are on going. I’ll hit publish on this post and as I do an internal happy dance, I’ll also be thinking about future posts.
In this season I wonder what I have done with this time that won’t evaporate? What has been built on rock and not sand?
It is right and good to reflect on the ways we invest our lives, time, and money. But it is also right and good to turn to each other and say:
“Just because something looks to be fleeting, that is not the full picture.”
What you do—the conversations you have, the games you play, the emails you write, the projects you work on, the loads of laundry you do—are the strands of life that when woven together build into something larger than the fleeting moments they represent.
So I turn to you and say, “Just because something looks to be fleeting or eternal, that’s not the full picture.”
Yes, I create with water, you create with water; but we need to remember the truth that it is not mere water. And your life story contains far more than you are I can see right now.
A version of this first appeared at The Messy Middle