“Working backward from the deadline” is a phrase we use when we’re establishing a production schedule or timeline to finish a project. It establishes an appropriate amount of time to achieve each step of accomplishing a goal. While attending the funeral service for the father of a dear friend, that phrase came to my mind. And it seemed timely, because Lent is a good time to examine these things.
At this celebration of life, friends and family remembered the ways that he touched our lives. Those reflections got me thinking about life and death—Easter celebration and the spiritual discernment process of Lent.
If the funeral is the party—or Easter—then Lent is the working schedule. If we start “working backward from our deadline,” or working backward from our death, we ask: What do we need to accomplish on this earth before we are called home? Do we need to increase the sharing of our gifts of time and money to help others? Do we need to financially support the organizations we believe in? Do we need to give more freely kind words or patience?
This is adapted from a reflection written by Elizabeth McBride that was published on the Women of the ELCA blog.