I recently watched the movie, Flash of Genius.
It's a touching story based on Dr. Robert Kearns' invention of the intermittent windshield wiper. Wow! I had no idea how this technology came into being. Now my sense of gratitude for wipers that swipe over my windshield intermittently won't ever be the same thanks to Dr. Kearns. The movie tells how Kearns challenged the Ford Motor Company in an eleven year legal battle to prove he was the sole inventor of this windshield wiper technology, not Ford, as they claimed to be.
This is a David v. Goliath story, which has you rooting the whole way for Dr. Kearns, even though another part of his story is quite tragic. He eventually wins his case against this massive company and is awarded a fortune. As I watched events unfold, I couldn't help but think about the value of family relationships and time spent with the ones we love. How can we put a price on those? Even winning millions doesn't make up for the time Kearns missed out on with his wife and six children. His family grew up while he was obsessed with his lawsuit against Ford.
When Kearns finally wins his long overdue recognition and the settlement from Ford, he turns to his by then ex-wife and proclaims, "We won!" She smiles politely, congratulates him with a hug, and then walks away.
I understand his desire to be recognized for his accomplishments, and I'm not convinced I would have done any better under similar circumstances. But it raises the question about priorities for me. Undoubtedly, I'm not in a contest for a multi-million dollar settlement, but I still want to use each day wisely, not getting caught up with activities and pursuits that in the big picture, don't matter much.
I look back on earlier years when I'd spend evenings on the phone complaining to friends about my marital problems instead of being present for my husband and our sons, or being crazy-busy with activities (all good causes, of course!) instead of slowing down to appreciate the simple pleasures of each day. I know I missed out on many opportunities to be there for my family, my number one priority after my relationship with God.
How about you? Are you chasing after pursuits that burn up time, but don't matter much? Keeping my priorities in order is a constant challenge. May the Lord give us wisdom to choose wisely.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28 (The Message)