“Wasted” Life?

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It’s hard to believe that my life counts for much when I’m 38 and seemingly ‘nowhere in life’. If I simply look at how I’m ‘bumming around’, unsure of what lies ahead of me, seemingly ‘useless’ and ‘unproductive’ as compared to those of my age with busy, productive and successful lives, it’s easy to feel like I’m ‘wasting my life away’ while everyone else is making such a huge difference in the world, whether by contributing to society, raising families or actively serving in Church.

I would have gone on a downward spiral if not for the fact that I get to spend time with my niece Jaime every morning. Simply carrying her, playing with her, singing songs to her or reading to her has been such a joy and delight. Yet if you think about it, she too is ‘bumming around’, unsure of what lies ahead of her, and relatively ‘useless’ and ‘unproductive’. Even what I do with her can seem ‘useless’, since I wonder how much of what I read to her is registered in her mind. Still, this ‘wasting time’ with Jaime and ‘being useless’ with her turns out to be the most precious moments I look forward to every morning.

Perhaps Jaime reminds me of an easily forgotten truth: that life is not meant to be ‘useful’, that our life’s worth is not simply measured by our productivity or outcome. Rather, the true value of our lives simply stems from our being, from an appreciation of the true gift that we already are, regardless of what we do or achieve. And it is only when I get to ‘waste time’ that I start to pay more attention to how precious she is, as well as how precious I am. It is when I spend ‘useless’ times with her that I suddenly catch her megawatt smile that simply melts my heart! Had I been too busy or concerned with being ‘useful’, I would probably have missed such a precious moment, just as I would be missing out on these precious moments appreciating myself for who I am if not for this season of ‘time wasting’.

Jesus too ‘wasted’ 30yrs of His life before going into public ministry. Perhaps it’s ok to be 38 and not feel ‘useful’, but more importantly to be 38 and still feel wonderful, for that’s how all of us were created to be.

Originally posted on Instagram.

Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye is a Singaporean currently on a year's sabbatical from the seminary, discerning his path in life and striving to facilitate encounters with God in the workplace and ordinary life.

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1 thought on ““Wasted” Life?”

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    I’ve truly enjoyed this article. Makes me see how much I can do by just Not feeling useful. God has given me grace to somehow feel a tiny bit useful by allowing me to offer my physical pain to the Souls in Purgatory. Amen, glory to God.

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