From my first published volume of poetry: A Few Thoughts About Life
The Greater Things We Leave Undone
So many trivial things to do.
I soon consume my time and room.
Each day’s divinely portioned slate
So quickly does evaporate
By nightfall at the end of day
Assessing, I am forced to say,
More was initial promise, full
Than final product, actual.
The little tasks monopolize,
Proportioned not to their true size
While tasks far weightier than the lot
Receive their due attention not.
Not true alone of single days,
This tragic fact defines our ways.
The central things we leave undone.
The whole periphery we run.
The things that should define our life
Deserve our time, attention, strife.
Your precious time do not spend poor.
Once gone, you never can buy more.
* * * * * * * * *
Many times I have found a need to choose between a variety of useful and worthy tasks to give my time and attention to. But those tasks, though all good, are not all equal. If I do ten little tasks in a day, but leave undone the two largest and most important, I often feel that I have not well spent my time. Not that anything I did was bad or useless or unproductive, but simply that I misprioritized my time and thus left the central task neglected.
If I look back on a day or week or year and see that I accomplished well the large tasks that were before me, that the central things of life were well achieved, I can be content even if there were some smaller things that I wish I had also been able to do.
I need still to learn at times not to lose all my time doing small things. Be sure to give priority to that which matters most.