Saturday, November 2, 2019

Thinking About Fun and Fulfillment

My wife recently went on a two week mission trip to another country to work with kids in an orphanage. Due to security, the visit had a high degree of secrecy to it. The conditions there (though improving) were still deplorable.

I was telling a colleague about it and she commented, "That doesn't even sound fun!"

I assured her my wife didn't intend it to be fun. Of course, she knew that and I'm sure her statement came out that way only because it was a passing conversation. This post was not sparked simply because she said the word "fun". That came to mind, though, as I reflected on my recent efforts and the conversations around me.

For a couple other reasons, this was a tough week at work. Sometimes the challenges can make me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. Am I making it harder than it needs to be? This is especially true when others seem to be having a lot more fun.

Is there an important job at hand or should I just lighten up?

I mean, it's always easy to point to someone else and blame them for how things are. If they'd carry their weight, this would be such a pain, right? Why should any of us work harder than they are?

You can only do so much.

You have to take care of you.

Got plans this weekend? Just two more days!

That doesn't even sound fun.

It's tough to keep a straight course when my job requires me to converse with people on both sides of the divide. Sometimes I'm with people who look at the mission and together we feel we're making progress. Other times I'm the one laughing the least and have nothing exciting to share about the most recent weekend or vacation. ("Well, I updated those spreadsheets and made a couple tutorials....")

If I only had myself to think about, this would be easier. It wouldn't be the first time I'd throw my own heart and soul into a cause that's probably already beyond lost. I'm okay with hoping against hope.

But my job also requires me at times to teach young adults what it takes to succeed in life. I have my own two kids. I don't want to mess them up with my poor judgment in these matters.

I have to lead and (though it seems silly to say right now) inspire adults. Who am I fooling? Myself of them?

So this morning I reflected on all this. I wanted to write something, maybe just for my own notes, to sort it out.

I (once again and for the moment) concluded that fun can be a cheap substitute for fulfillment. Maybe not always, but maybe more than ever we settle for it when we could have had more in time.

"At least you had fun," we say.

This morning I'll keep going and I'll hold out for fulfillment even if it's not fun. I'll even do it with some enthusiasm.

Even if it seems I'm the only one.

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