Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Firing Line

Hello my darlings, It’s been a while, hasn't it? ;-D

I just finished reading Don Aslett's How to Have a 48-Hour Day again. I love this book; it always gets me motivated to DO things and to be productive. Near the end of the book Aslett has a blurb titled "Staying in the Firing Line." He writes:

Heroes and champions are made in the battle, in the game, on the front line, in fact the firing line. Where there is risk, injury, buffeting about, and opposition, is also the number one producing place.
The American dream is personal freedom, but going off the firing line isn't having it made, it isn't freedom. Ninety percent of the time, it's just the opposite: personal bondage! We work, scheme, stick our neck out, and sacrifice to achieve financial independence-so we don't have to answer to anyone. What happens when most people attain "it" and are off the firing line?-marriages fail, spirituality lessens, health deteriorates, enthusiasm evaporates, we become less charitable, and our attitudes sour. On teams and staffs, in families and organizations, the firing line is where everything is happening. It's where life, knowledge, and action abound, where the seeds of greatness are sown, sprouted, and harvested. When you insulate yourself from the action of the front lines, you cut yourself off from the very things that make you grow and prosper and make you productive.
So step out in front, to the firing line, where you're on the hot seat to produce and perform and be accountable. The good life isn't luxury; it's the ability to produce! Be where you have to answer, speak, give, duck, and deliver!
If we want to prove ourselves, then we have to keep ourselves on the proving grounds; stretched to and even beyond our capacity. (143)

Growing up in a financially-challenged home, I LOVED life. I didn't really care about having nice things; I just reveled in the time I had to bond with my mother and sisters. (Besides everything is a toy or a jungle gym when you are a child with lots of imagination.) Of course I wasn't the one worrying about paying the bills and keeping food on the table. But I have often thought, "What would I do with myself if I had a financially comfortable life some day?" Call me crazy, but I don't think I would like it. Just like Aslett said, I think I'd become less spiritually keen, less charitable, lazy. I guess if one lives a virtuous life he can be content and spiritually keen in any state. If one finds himself with great financial gains, the virtuous man will spend and invest and donate is wisely.

But, honestly, I don't want a comfortable, lounge-around the house while the maid cleans, vacation in the Alps 3 times a year family-life. No, I want to earn that vacation. I want to bond with my (one-day) family while doing dishes, scrubbing toilets, or painting the house. I don't want my future children to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. I want a life full of love and activity, bonding and productivity, love for the Lord and one another. (Reminds me of that song "Live Like You Were Dying.")

Once the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperors of the first few centuries A.D. ceased, Roman citizens converted to Christianity en masse. They didn't all have a sincere passion for the truth of salvation through Christ and a love for His Church; it was just what they were expected to do. So, certain Christians, desiring to live a life as passionately devoted to the faith as the martyrs of the Coliseum created for themselves a new sort of martyrdom; they become monks, nuns, hermits, friars, and such. They took (and still take today) vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I mention this because it relates to Aslett's assertion that being out of the firing line of life often puts us in the position of becoming idle and indifferent. And so those who wanted to spend themselves completely for love of Christ found a way to do so.

This is the sort of life I want to lead - always alert and alive - seeking to live my life to the fullest and to love others to the fullest of my capacity. You only live once (and then you live forever ;-D). Pray fervently. Choose wisely.


"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:15-18)

"And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:19-21)

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