Back when they were brand-new, I got a Kindle Fire. I’d put off having any sort of e-reader for quite a while, but earlier that year my husband gifted me with a Kindle on my birthday. I became very fond of it. So fond, in fact, that I jumped at getting a Kindle Fire because I used the Kindle a lot and I wanted to be able to do even more with it.
The Fire was a great success. I hear that the newer versions are, too, but I’m happy with the one I have, so I’m not thinking of going for ‘bigger and better.’ It’s given me all I hoped for – with the exception of being able to buy books from amazon.co.uk which apparently is still a no-no. I don’t understand the thinking of publishers who limit such sales but permit sales of actual books across the pond. Perhaps someone will explain so it makes sense.
However . . . one of the things my Fire has done is allowed me to discover books I might not have discovered previously. I think, ‘Ah, that’s sounds good,’ and I purchase it – and hopefully I begin to read.
Or sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I’m in the middle of something else and the book lingers waiting . . .and waiting.
That happened sometime ago to a book called The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner. I can’t even remember now how I discovered it. But I’m a fan of ‘practicing’ and it called to me. So I bought it – and promptly went on with whatever I was doing.
Then, two days ago, I was scrolling back through my bookshelves and I rediscovered The Practicing Mind. This time I opened it and began to read.
I don’t know why I didn’t read it when I first got it, but I think I am grateful that I waited until now. Now is the right time for me to be reading it. It’s the right time to recognize that where I am in the current book is the right place for me to be. I shouldn’t be worrying about the end. The ending is not the most important thing (except perhaps to editors). What’s important is doing it right, focusing on the process of writing, of discovering the story in Lukas and Holly’s lives.
It’s a salient reminder – particularly in this time of New Year’s Resolutions that goals are important, but that ‘getting there’ is more what life is all about.
The same goes not just for writing, but for everything we do, I think. I love do work on family history – and I have goals. I want to discover the identity of my great-grandfather Johnson’s father. But the process of seeking is just as important as finding. Learning HOW to seek is just as valuable.
I like baking – and goodness knows, I enjoy eating what I bake. But the process of mixing ingredients, of stirring and rolling and shaping and putting the result into the oven is just as enjoyable (and far less fattening).
I was reminded over Christmas when we visited two of our sons and their families that the joy of parenting is in the doing. There is no ‘result’ at which time we can say, “All done.” It’s an on-going process. Watching my sons as fathers, discovering that too was a joyful experience.
Sometimes we spend our lives thinking, “If only . . .” as in “If only I could finish this, I’d be happy,” or “if only I could get that, I’d be fulfilled.” But really, it isn’t the attaining – it’s the process that is really important, that’s really valuable.
Sterner reminded me of this again in his book. I’m reminding you.
I hope we can all look back on 2013 as a year in which we stayed in the moment a lot of the time, when we didn’t regret the past or worry about the future, but focused on doing what was important, on living in the now.