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WRITE TEAM: Living for what matters

"If it matters to you, it matters to us!"

That's the motto of my local newspaper.

I like it!

When I'm troubled about something, I ask myself: "Does it matter?"

If the issue seems small or inconsequential, I say to myself, "Let it go!"

And then I move on and tell myself to, "Do the next thing!"

I don't want to spend my life worrying about things that don't matter.

But I realize that what matters to me may not be important to someone else. Or something that doesn't matter to me may indeed be important to someone else.

That's the sticky part!

One of my favorite books is "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.

The problem is that not everyone agrees on what is "small stuff."

We are all different! Studying our differences may explain the popularity of Enneagrams and other currently popular personality tests.

Also, family values that are established early in our lives create what we see as important.

We can't always know what is important to another person. We need to observe, listen and care, even when something seems small or inconsequential to us.

What is important depends to some extent on what we plan to do with our lives. Time is an important commodity.

I love the poem, "The Summer Day," written by Mary Oliver, US Poet Laureate, which closes with the following line:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

In one of her columns, Mary Schmich, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, talks about having lunch with her mother, who was 85 at the time, and in poor health. They discussed Mary Oliver's poem and the question: "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" And then a second question, "What are you going to do with the time you have left?"

Aren't those the questions we all ask from time to time?

When we are young, we may think we have it figured out. But as we move through life, the questions arise again and again.

I want to live for what matters!

And what is that?

My answer would be, God and people!

I love an old hymn that talks about living "with eternity's values in view."

I want that!

I don't want to "sweat the small stuff," but I do need to consider what matters to others.

I'm working on that one!

• Carole Ledbetter is a native Ottawan, author of two books and a speaker consultant for Stonecroft Ministries. She can be reached at

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