What we do between.

“Character is reflected in what you do while waiting for the next assignment.”

I think I’m quoting myself. If not, let me know. (I really am. I wrote this nearly a decade ago,)

I was thinking about how much we like assignments, challenges, events, big projects. They give us a focus. They give us a deadline. They allow us to gather resources and build teams. They give us excuses to not do the day-to-day stuff that mere mortals must do.

But what do we do between the projects? When there isn’t a huge compelling external or internal obligation?

As I heard the other day, “we need to pay attention to what we pay attention to.”

At some point, it seems, we do have to clean the office, carry out the trash. At some point we need to work without adrenaline. And at those points we discover what our baseline activity is.

Sherlock Holmes turned to cocaine when bored. David turned to Bathsheba. Many of us turn to food or work or mind-numbing. And we discover that our character, our bodies, our approach to life is shaped by what we do or don’t do in these daily routines.

I’m interested that Jesus went for 18 years with nothing recorded. There is little record of the first 80 years of Moses’ life, and then just highlights of the next 40. I’m interested that reputation is formed slowly with the data points of days of reliability, hours of practice, years of faithfulness.

I’m trying to memorize something right now. If I want the words to permeate me, I can’t cram. I have to slowly add the text, repeating, double-checking, morning, evening. The more regular the review, the more ingrained the words. And the more likely it is that my thinking will be formed by what I’m memorizing.

The daily grind can grind on us, I suppose, but it can also sharpen us. It depends on what we add into our lives between assignments.

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