That thing you think is going to happen might not happen.
You think it will. It probably will. No, it will. But then, it might not.
“I know it will get done at some point.”
But what if it never gets done?
A few days after my father’s passing, I was in his office in his house. There were stacks of paper on his desk. For some reason, those stacks of paper affected me deeply.
Although my dad was gone from the physical world, those papers did not go with him. Since my dad’s passing, I am happy to say that I somehow have a lighter view on what it means to leave the physical realm of life as we know it.
Now you might be scratching your head wondering how I jumped from papers on a desk to some sort of spiritual afterworld, but I’ll connect the dots, I promise.
I’d like to think there is an administrative office in heaven where you sit down in a plush chair, are offered a Chai tea latte, and they tell you every checkbox, all of your to-do lists, and pretty much everything you ever needed to finish, has been completed.
Since this is heaven, and I struggled to gather interview subjects for this research, we’re going to have to go with hearsay. Because if it’s truly heaven and it lives up to all of the hype, then not only will your to-do lists and public tasks be completed, but even those dreams you had hidden deep in your heart are either done or, maybe even better, are now available for you to finish and you had all of the resources and all of the time and all of the energy you needed to make it happen.
Now that I have heaven covered, let’s move back to the physical, alive realm of earth and life as we know it.
Those papers on the desk. They’re not going to complete themselves, on their own, without you, or by some heavenly administrative angel. Yeah, sorry about that.
In fact, as far as my dad taking care of those papers, I feel quite certain to state they will never get done.
“Never” is one of those short, five letter words, that are hard for us to comprehend because our minds can’t get a hold on something like infinity. Again, let’s descend back to the world we know of finite time of, say for example, a lifetime, or next Thursday.
“Next Thursday” is the opposite of never. Next Thursday is a finite, defined deadline I just pulled out of thin air but here’s the beauty of the next Thursday deadline: if I decide to get it done by that date, and I follow through on my decision, it will be done and the option for “never” is now off the table.
To delve into semantics for just a moment and combine it with simple mathematics, “someday” and “never” have the same numerical value in that they both equal zero, or in other words, they are valueless, they have no worth, it will never get done.
The difference between something getting done and something not getting done is extremely simple yet not necessarily always easy. There is a distance between done and not done that either can be measured with a microscope or satellite imagery. In other words, the difference between done and not done is either so tiny we can’t see it or so vast we can’t see it either.
The difference between the two comes down to one simple, not always easy, action: decide.
Maybe my dad had decided to take care of one or some or all of the papers on his desk, but he just ran out of time. Remember when I said I would connect the dots? This is that moment. Although we have the power to make a decision today, that does not equate to accomplishing what we decide, it only means we have chosen our path and we have taken the first step.
However, let me be clear, by making a decision to go forward it at least opens up the opportunity for success whereas by not deciding or, of course, deciding not to do something, the statistical probability of achieving that thing is down to a big, fat, simple to understand zero.
In simple mathematics, the difference between zero and any other number, be it one or 427, is the same. The difference being the same as the difference between yes or no, done or not done, alive or dead.
Putting aside momentarily the angelic staff of administrative superheroes, we have one power on this earth that is potentially our greatest strength as humans. That power is to decide.