What Really Matters



It happens every year around this time. That sinking feeling in my stomach and my eyes welling up with tears with regret over lost time. Today was the first day of school. Last night after I tucked my kids in, I went into my office and saw my daughter’s Lego Friends neatly positioned in their lounge chairs with their animals sitting obediently alongside them. It was so cute and left me tearfully wondering if my kids really needed to go to school in the first place. I am a teacher after all, so I could home school them. Yeah, right.

But seriously, where did the summer go and how can I get it back?

I was reading a story recently about a couple who found out the wife had aggressive breast cancer. The shock of the news was quickly overshadowed by months of treatments and surgeries. However, in the midst of their darkest hours, the couple discovered something beautiful. They shared how they had found a new and deep appreciation for each other, for their marriage and for time spent together. I wondered as I lamented about lost time with my children – Why we do life this way? Why do we have to lose someone, leave someone or be hit over the head with a baseball bat before we wake up and focus on the important things in life that matter?

So last night I wrote “What Matters?” on a bunch of bright gold Post-it notes. One is on my computer, one in my car, one on my bathroom mirror, one by my cell phone. I want to spend time on what matters. I don’t want to look back at my kids’ high school graduation, my 30th wedding anniversary or on my death bed and have regret. I want to trade time on Facebook for time with my husband. I want to talk and laugh with my kids instead of trying to ensure their rooms look Pottery Barn-esque. I want to pray daily and ask for help in being fully present with my family while they are in front of me so I have less regret when someday they aren’t.


The problem with what matters is that I am easily distracted. What matters isn’t always easy to discern and it doesn’t look the same every day so I will need focus on what matters today then wake up and prayerfully figure out what matters again tomorrow. And as I try to focus on what matters, I am also going to choose to trade remorse for gratitude. Gratitude for time I did spend with my kids this summer, for walks I took with my husband and for the love that was part of all of it. What matters isn’t what I should have done. What matters is what I will do and the attitude I embrace while doing it.



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