Minute #594: Sense of Urgency

“I’ve got to stay up late. I have an exam tomorrow and need to cram.”

“Report’s due! We’ll have to cancel dinner plans for tonight so I can stay at work and get it done on time.”

“I didn’t do the Daf Yomi today. Can’t join you, sorry. I’m feeling the pressure not to fall behind.”

People generally put things off. Responsibilities are not fulfilled early, but rather at the last minute. I myself have asked the question, “When’s the deadline?” more times than I’d like to admit.

I read about a young Yerushalmi woman who was told she had one year to live. She lived in fear for two more years. By her third year post-diagnosis she had learned to ignore the fears and live in the moment, with gusto. She appreciated her spouse and children, even when they did not act exactly as she would have liked. She tolerated inclement weather and giggled to herself over the complaints expressed by others about the weather being “so bad.” She controlled herself better and did not allow little things to upset her or cause her to fight with  others.

Once she realized she faced a deadline, she felt her time was too valuable to waste on inconsequential matters. She refused to waste a “now” worrying about a future time that may not arrive.

She asked a friend a question we should all ask ourselves: “Why do people need to feel a sense of urgency before getting around to enjoying life?” She asked a doctor, “Should I prepare for death?” and he answered in the affirmative. However, a friend who overheard said, “You should be preparing for life, not death. It’s much more difficult.”

Everyone faces the same fate after 120 years. Why must we waste our good years until we sense the urgency of our own departure? Start preparing today to live a fuller, better, more appreciative life. Do it with no deadline to meet. It’s “urgent” — whether you feel it or not.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Many a motor car accident is traceable to punctuality taking precedence over safety, prudence and common sense. (Rabbi Berel Wein, Buy Green Bananas, p. 142)