Everyday Spirituality

Throughout our lives we accumulate ‘unfinished projects’. I think it is normal to believe you can complete everything you begin in your life time.

I can think of any number of projects I started, but as of yet are not completed. I have an embroidered kit for a beautiful clock that has remained tautly stretched on the circular hoops for thirty or forty years now. I have lavender paint for the walls in our bedroom; I love purple that will most likely never reach its intended destination. I have neatly folded fabric for drapes matching our comforter still in the shipping carton.

I think of the time of my life much like the sands in an hourglass. Each day a few more grains transition through to the bottom half of the glass. These grains of sand can represent so much about my life and yours.

At first these ‘unfinished projects’ are perched on the top of the sands of our life. They may even at the time seem to be a priority. But, as the days, weeks, months, and years pass by these projects get buried within the very sands of our lives. Eventually many of these projects get forgotten and others are just accepted and remain as ‘unfinished projects’.

Sometimes others help you complete an ‘unfinished project’ because they believe it to be good for you or they simply desire to please you.

When I think of my life time as the sands in an hourglass; mixed into this sand are many of my own ‘unfinished projects’ which were initially on top.

Each day as the grains of sand quietly drop into the bottom of the hourglass there remains less and less sand covering the ‘PROJECTS’.

It may be a blessing to have the time to prepare for one’s death, but it can also be frightening. Frightening because as the top sand of our life dwindles those ‘unfinished projects’ become exposed; they cannot fall to the bottom ‘unfinished’. They hang in the top exposed no longer covered up by the grains of sand.

Uncomfortable and stressful for those of us who want to leave this world tidy and neat… who cannot bear to leave one of those ‘unfinished projects’ caught in the top without the sand.

This is especially difficult if you are one of  those people who believe when you die you should have everything in order…neat and tidy…

How can you leave stuff in the top of your hourglass?



Then if you are blessed a loved one comes to help you realize that who you are is not represented in these ‘unfinished projects’. This loved one draws your attention to the sands in the bottom of the hourglass. Together you look at these sands and notice that some of the grains of sand actually sparkle like tiny dazzling diamonds. The grains of your love for your spouse and family…the grains of your compassion for the homeless woman…the grains of your attention to students in your class…the grains of your smile for the depressed neighbor…the grains of your inner beauty…too many to recall the reason each has a unique sparkle.

You have heard the beautiful Beatitude message and have reflected it throughout your life. (Matthew 5:1-16) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Suddenly when attention is focused on these sparkling sands you come to the realization that ‘unfinished projects’ left in the top do not and never have defined who you are to those who love you.

May your life be filled with sparkling grains of sand too numerous to count.





Comments on: "Unfinished Projects: What Really Matters…" (9)

  1. Talk about perspective… what a beautiful post…. and yes, we come to realize the unfinished projects are just projects; they don’t and have never defined us.
    Thank you for the reminder…

  2. Cathryne Gardner said:

    Thanks, Sharon, for this beautiful image of the sands in the hourglass. Being one of those “neat and tidy” people, I totally understand her desire to have all these unfinished projects completed…and truthfully, my small contribution to this was a joy for me…a way to help when inside I feel so helpless. Still…you are right on in saying that these finished projects do not define a person. As I watched her last night and her total determination to be present to the moment, despite her much-diminished physical state, I could see light all around her and smell the fragrance of Christ filling the room. I know this journey is teaching her how to pass from this life to eternal life, but she is also teaching all of us how to do the same and truly how to live each day. And thank YOU for being such a dear friend to her and to all your sisters and brothers in Christ. I love you.
    PS Thank you for inviting me to subscribe to your Faithtwins blog. I read all your entries and each one touched me. You have a beautiful gift for creating images that we can see and touch and feel and that help us understand things that we are experiencing within us…like this image of the grains of sand passing through the hour glass.

  3. What a wonderful image and reflection……
    In his latest book, “Falling Upward”, Richard Rohr speaks about the two halves of our lives: the first half is accumulating things, climbing the social and corporate ladder, building our ego. Sharon, you beautifully show as the sand runs down, the second half is spent not on “unfinished projects” but on family, friends, WITS sisters, and that is what defines the person living in the spiirituality of the second half of life. Our friend Betty is showing us all how to live in grace in the days she has left with us here.

    • Thanks so much for your reply. Richard Rohr is a wealth of insight and shares it abundantly through his writings.
      Thank you also, Joe, for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you will share it with others too.

  4. Linda Hirshberger said:

    Thank you for this post. It affirms to me something I heard on KSBJ yesterday. We have to stop defining our status or worth by the person we are with. We must find the purpose God put us on this earth for and that will define our status as a loved one of God. We matter in our own right. God bless you.

  5. So beautifully told….
    What do they say at the beginning of the soap…”Days of our lives.” “Like sands through the hourglass… so are the Days of Our Lives.”

  6. Love you Sharon. So eloquently written. I think of my mom often when I read your blog entries. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with sweet Betty. Love, Lanie

    • Thank, Lanie. I pray that a few of my words will help in continuing your healing process. Losing your mother is must be very difficult.
      Love you too, my dear. Peace.

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