Word of the Week: Sustainability

This word brings back memories of dreaded piano lessons and the day my teacher decided to add in pedal work. Weren’t my hands were already busy enough, tripping over each other in an attempt to make something called music? But no, now I had to get a third appendage into the action and hey, keeping it simple here, we’ll give that little old foot a choice of just three pedals to push! Since you know, you can’t really see what’s going on down there – hopefully you’ll get lucky and pick the right one.

Can you tell I didn’t love piano lessons? Can you tell I’m NOT a concert pianist today? But I have to admit I did get a kick out of the “sustain” pedal. The one that, when you tromped down on it, caused whatever notes you were playing to keep ringing even after you lifted your fingers from the keys.

Well, now I’m all grown up – or at least I’m supposed to be! I’ve moved beyond piano lessons to just trying to navigate life. And yet sustainability is still something I get a kick out of. What am I capable of continuing? I’m coming to understand that sustainable doesn’t have to equate to forever. Our pastor asked a great question a few weeks ago: which energizes us more – change or continuity? I think I’d like to sustainability fits in there somewhere, perhaps bridging the gap between two extremes. What is sustainable? And how long do I need to sustain this activity?

  • I can sustain my flowers through the summer through faithful watering
  • I can sustain a late night schedule over a three month period in order to reach a personal goal
  • I can (and need to) buckle down to a better eating/exercise plan for a 3 month period
  • I can forgo ______ for a while in order to save money for a certain purpose
  • I can focus on finishing a reading list over a period

Most of us can do anything for a season. So perhaps as you ponder new beginnings, it might be wise to do so with the end in mind. Maybe the idea of sustainability will . . . well, help sustain your efforts!