According to dictionary.com, the word earnest means: serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous.
Last month, I blogged about living life on purpose (with purpose). I will admit, it isn’t easy. I’ve had a post-it note stuck in front of my nose for days to help me.
In my decisions: choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Whenever possible, I’ve made an effort to spend time with my family instead of holing up with my latest work-in-progress. That might mean babysitting or conversing with my school-age grandkids whenever I’m blessed with the opportunity.
To maintain this intent and purpose, I’ve needed to spur myself and stir up the zealousness when I only wanted to retreat. You see, we make a daily choice, whether by habit or intent, to get out of bed and go to work. We go because we need a paycheck, or because we know our work is necessary for the good of others.
I had dinner with an elementary grades teacher last night. She takes her work seriously. She’s earnest in her calling. She’s inspiring young minds and helping mold their future. Those aren’t just cliches to her. They are her purpose. It’s not always easy. I’ve spoken to teachers suffering from burn-out. They were discouraged, and had lost their zeal for the work that once described them and gave them purpose.
So it’s important to maintain our purpose. That’s the real importance of being earnest.
Did you wonder from my title, if I was going to reference Oscar Wilde’s play by the same name? Well, you’re right, I am. The subtitle of Wilde’s original work is “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” The play was originally performed in London on Valentine’s Day, 1895. It was originally described as a “satirical farce.”
I had read the thing a number of years ago, but it had fallen by the wayside in my memory until spurred by the 2002 movie with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth (among many other brilliant and funny actors). If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a watch. It’s cute, lighthearted fun, though it does carry a message and an obvious play-on-words.
So, in closing, what changes would you make to your life, in order to pursue a more earnest, purpose-driven lifestyle?
Maybe you’d need to be more present in your own life. Put away your phone, tablet, laptop, etc., and make actual eye contact with your loved ones or coworkers. That droning sound you hear as you’re texting a smiley-face to your best friend? That’s your spouse talking to you about his day. Wake up and let him know you care about him and what happened to him.
Stop what you’re doing, whenever possible. Touch your child’s face and make eye contact. Respond to their need for attention with love, instead of impatience. Be earnest in your affection. Make a difference and you’ll hear a splash and see the ripple effect on the surface of your life.
I don’t play accurately – anyone can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression. — Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest