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Sometimes choices conflict with what we feel is right or important.

There are times when we need to say, "No," times when we are able to say, "Yes" and also, some incredible times when we are graciously able to find a compromise.

It seems I am getting to work with the idea of prioritizing my life and all the different aspects within it. I wear a variety of hats, as so many of us do. On a personal level: Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, sister, neighbor and student...on a professional level: editor/publisher, teacher. And did I mention housework and washing clothes, so I can actually arrive at each of these aspects in some semblance of order?

After a month long challenge of discernment and choices, my sister, Dee sent the following story, written by Mary Lynn Plaisance:

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 2 cups of 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.

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 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 again 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 important to you.

Pay attention to that which is critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your Partner out to dinner. 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, no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

During this very busy past month, I realized we are given choice...sometimes choices that conflict with what we feel is important to us. There have been times when I learned to say, "No," times when I was able to say, "Yes" and also, some incredible times when I was graciously able to find a compromise.

Here's to a New Year of knowing the "Yes's," from the "No,'s" and recognizing when compromise can be the best solution.

Blessing, Joann Turner