In a phone conversation earlier today I was asked, “where do you see yourself in seven years?” I picked a rather lousy time to not have an answer to that question, but the truth is, I have never really had an answer to questions such as this. I am not a future-planner, future-looker, future-thinking kind of girl. Why is that, I wonder? I expect a future, really. I expect more years of being married to the love of my life and growing old with him. I expect I’ll avoid wearing ‘grandma shoes’ for as long as I possibly can. I expect big gatherings to celebrate holidays, to celebrate grandchildren, to celebrate friends and family. I expect difficulties, and loss, and heartaches. I expect an end to this present life — in the future.
“Eternity is looming, and we are wasting time!” I used to say this to my students on a semi-regular basis, and I wasn’t speaking of neglected homework assignments. Rather, I was trying to impress on them, as it has been impressed upon me, that we are ‘forever and ever’ sorts of creatures. There’s more to our lives than the paltry years of time we spend on the earth. Our lives are a mist — you know it’s true. In the span of history, never mind eternity, 80 years is a blip on the time line. If we are eternal beings, and the life we live here is preparation for the lives we will live eternally, well… THAT is significant, isn’t it?
I have more years behind me than are left in front of me (unless I live to be 105, and sheesh! wouldn’t THAT be something!?), and so, ‘where do I see myself in seven years’ really ought to be something I can answer. (My time grows short, after all…)To buy myself a moment’s time to think, my first response to that question was this: “Well, I hope to be a grandmother in seven years, I really do!” A hint-nag to my children never hurts, right? And then, I answered the question for real. Here’s what I said:
“I hope I’ll be writing. And learning. I haven’t been in a classroom as a student for a couple of years now, and I’m feeling the need to take a class soon — I hope I’ll still be doing that in seven years. I hope I’ll be inspiring teachers and sharing ideas and doing Kingdom work, because that’s the work that lasts.”
So, when you’re asked the unexpected question, will you have an answer?
Eternity is looming, you know. Stop wasting time.