What happens when we’re short of time? When tomorrow is today. When what is yet to be now is. Lament lost opportunities? Kick ourselves or others or both for wasting time? Forge ahead, confident in our preparedness or simply hope for the best? (I reckon scads of candidates for public office feel this pressure right now!)
What happens when we’re short of talent? When tasks loom large and our abilities few, requiring, demanding more than we, with our experience and expertise, can manage or even imagine. Curse God or the fate of chance or our forebears and our genetic code for not having gifted us more generously? Press on, changing plans, maybe confessing our limitations and networking with others to expand the pool of skills?
What happens when we’re short of money? When whatever we want, we can’t afford and gratification is deferred. When whatever we need, we can’t buy (a daily experience for much of the world’s population) and necessity is denied. Use credit to fill the gaps? Tighten our proverbial belts ‘til it hurts, doing with less? Conserve – reuse, recycle, repurpose – what we have, letting nothing go to waste? Join forces, share resources with others so that all may have some of what we want and need?
As (more) important than being short of time, talent, or money, I think of creation. Not the Bible’s Genesis-version, “in the beginning,” but rather the end. What happens when it is clear that we, humankind, have come up short in our care for this fragile earth? When, in decrying the devastation ‘round about us, we also need confess that it hath been wrought in good measure by our guilty hands of gluttonous waste and massive pollution, whether by action or inaction, arrogance or ignorance? When through it all we have demonstrated our obvious, if, at times, unconscious, but no less unconscionable lack of concern for future generations? Another way to frame this question: What happens when we come up short of love and justice?
I pray we pledge our substance, our time, our talent, and our money (with each, how we use it, where we spend it, and for what). Most of all, I pray we pledge ourselves in a spirit of love and a sense of justice toward our greater care of the earth. May we open our minds to learn, our hearts to feel, our hands to do, so that we need not fear coming up short.
(I close, I confess, on a somewhat less than sanguine note. On Monday, the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, speaking at the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas and describing the threat to global stability posed by climate change, presented the Pentagon’s 2014 Adaptation Roadmap, detailing how our military would respond to potentially escalating local, regional, and international disputes over resources. Though a prescient measure, I suppose, it remains largely reactive. Surely all national governments can do more.)