One of my favorite books is Gone With the Wind. I kind of have a crush on Scarlett O' Hara; I loved her drive and her ambition. She had a determination to survive and thrive that pushed her through some of the most brutal situations—never letting her gender stop her from being in control.
Her strong work ethic, and her desire to survive, often left her deciding that tomorrow she would begin to focus on her interpersonal relationships. Tomorrow was a new day, she would say, tomorrow will give me the time and space to worry about how I can fix the relationships around me.
In the book, she lost several key people because tomorrow never came for her. It's tragic. It's stuck with me all my life. I've always said I did not want to be that minister who labored so much to the detriment of his relationships.
This past semester I woke up and realized I was already that minister.
I realized I was already marginalizing friends and family for the sake of my work: academic, ministerial, and personal.
And when I woke up, I grieved for what I had lost. I grieved and repented, repented and grieved because time is something that can never be recovered. Perhaps redeemed, but never recovered. I asked God to forgive me for the negative effects my negligence had caused upon my friends.
I wept much. And then I started loving much. I began to invest time and thought into the friendships I still had, particularly my brothers. I suppose I had lived arrogantly, assuming everyone would still be there for me once I reached my goals.
I used to think people could be taken for granted; I used to live arrogantly and presumptous, but now I realize time is fragile, relationships are fragile, and today is the day to love.
There are many things to admire about Scarlett and perhaps some things to be emulated, but to put people off until tomorrow? No, thank you. I've had enough loss.