It was a typical Saturday evening, and my wife and I were watching Uutisvuoto (= ”Have I got news for you.”) As usual Jari Tervo was winning. Amidst the jokes and the satire Stan Saanila said something quite profound. He was bothered about the obsession the media and many people have with their Career. He conjured up an image of a career-driven person’s funeral, of a person who is only remembered for what they achieved at work. There is only one guest at the funeral: the deceased’s boss who, tears in their eyes says,”He used to make the most amazing Excel documents”. Is this what we want to be remembered for, asked Stan.
What indeed do we want to be remembered for? Are our family ties the most important thing in our lives, or our work, voluntary work, studies, role in the community or our spiritual lives? In other words what we are or what we do? Each of us should consider the different elements that constitute our lives. We won’t find the same answers to these questions. Our roles are of enormous importance to us, whether we are workers, voluntary workers, students, retired, carers for children or the old or sick or simply members of the community. We should keep a balance and a sense of perspective and not despise any of these roles. There are plenty of people for whom work is the most important thing, and plenty for whom it isn’t. In a typical biography of a famous person in Wikipedia, 99% of the text is about what this person did, then the text ends with ”He/She was married and had two children.” I do not think the famous person saw their work-family balance in the same way. At the same time, I am much more interested in, for example, the work of Jean Sibelius than in his family life. Thank goodness he didn’t decide to give up composing in order to be a full-time carer and ”househusband”. The world would be a duller place without Finlandia and the Karelia Suite.
Whatever we are, let us thank God for it. Whatever we do, let us do it with a healthy pride in who we are as God’s children, and in what we have to contribute to others. Let us also do it with humility in the service of others and of God.