Matter, noun, is a scientific term that relates to ions and force. Matter involves space and potential energy. Matter, verb, defines significance and involves consequence.
She had a small frame and short gray hair. Wearing her “pajama jeans” with typical older lady short sleeved floral print shirt. Her shoes were the bulky white heeled made for walking with support not style type. We were at the gym. Me behind her working on my daily sweat. I noticed her dismount the spin bicycle in front of me and I watched her bend over and pick up her purse. It brought a smile to my face. Next to her was a gentleman with full apparel for a century ride. Proper clip-on bike shoes and the spandex outfit meant for ease of movement, warmth and moisture wicking. I made an immediate judgement. She is not really serious about her biking. Her outfit gave her away as a novice at this bustling gym. However, it is January 2nd and at least she is out trying to move.
At the same time I was listening to a podcast challenging me to live a life worthy. A life that would result in a crown, not the burger-king type. It dawned on me between the words coming in and the life around me. Human tendency is to reach for better, expect better, evaluate what is better. We are all critics! I started to roll off the “er” words: better, stronger, faster, weaker, slower, thinner, fatter, wiser, smarter, richer, poorer. Does it matter?
Walking out of the opera latter the same day a woman in her fur with a handwritten sign at the door “need a ride tot he gate”. I walked by but returned. Why would I not question to see if I could help her. She certainly didn’t look like trouble and she was leaving the opera. I asked, “what gate” and she explained a cab was on the way but was having difficulty locating her and her party of 3. I was not able to accommodate them all in my car so I continued on to the parking lot. My companions asked why I had stopped and I pointed out her sign. They did not even notice. As a “noticer” I realize I do this probably more that the average. I evaluate, quickly and without enough grace most of the time.
Continuing to ponder the significance of my practice I realized the small change I could make. Does it matter? Does my gym routine matter? Yes, I aim for health and I don’t work out to negate my bad choices. I am a professional health care provider and I practice what I prescribe. How about my time use, does it matter? While at the gym I spoke meaningfully and encouragingly to a few friends. The breakfast of my special recipe pumpkin waffles and grapes left for my three teens who stay in bed until they decide to get up, matters to me. Feeding my cat matters. Texting my husband words of thanks for working so hard for us matters. Responding to email matters (maybe not to me but to the waiting recipient). Noticing a friend in the longest line I have ever seen at Costco matters. Reading my friends essay she has written for a scholarship matters. Her life of risk that she writes about matters. My little word correction suggestions to her matter. The phone call to my visiting niece making plans to take her to the city, matters. Seeing another niece in her opening night as Carmen, matters to her. The tip we leave the waiter matters to him. Stopping at the red light matters. Yesterday matters.
Today I will go to the gym, cook for and clean up after three teens on their last day of Christmas break. I will attempt to speak words that matter. I will see the world different. I don’t have to evaluate!
The lady at the gym was doing what matters. She was out of her home. She was working forward even with speculatively less years than I.
Do these words matter? That is not for anyone to decide. They certainly aren’t any better. If these words make you think about what matters, they matter.
I want to live beyond comparison. Matter vs better.