For the last few weeks, I’ve been wearing my grandfathers’ watch. He died in 1990 when I was still very young, and for many years it sat in my parent’s safe. A couple years ago, when I decided I was mature enough to actually have it in my possession, I got it and wore it for a couple of days, and it promptly had a couple of parts break, and then I put off fixing it, because, well…
I wasn’t sure if wearing it would send the wrong message to people. Because it was made by one of those companies that cause some people to raise an eyebrow. It took me awhile to get over that. I’m really glad that I did.
In the periods of my life where I have been the most productive, I’ve worn a watch. What’s the magical reason I’m more productive when I’m wearing a watch? Because if I’m not wearing a watch, I check the time on this thing:
You know what I also check when I check the time on that thing? FacebookInstagramTwitterEmailTextsGamesPlanningCenterSlackWeatherSnapchatCalendarGamecams. It’s…inefficient.
But that’s really not the point. I didn’t start wearing my grandfather’s watch to avoid the time suck of my cell phone, I did it to connect with someone I love who died when I was 4. I did it so that when I look at what time it is today, I can remember someone who was looking at what time it was on this day in 1975 on the same watch. And that’s really meaningful to me, even if somebody occasionally walks away and says, “Did you see what kind of watch that preacher had on?”
Confession: I’m always going to care what people think more than I should. Some of it is innate; I’ve always been wired to seek approval and I like attention. Some of it is a professional reality; a pastor who doesn’t consider what folks think about their actions is a pastor who spends a LOT of time apologizing, and they often end up pretty lonely. I think that’s why this decision was significant enough for me that I felt like writing something about it. And, maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt only pastors are people pleasers.
That’s the other nice thing about wearing this watch so far. When I start to think judgmental thoughts about someone, I’ve got something to remind me to cut that crap out. I spent years not doing something as simple as wearing a watch because I was scared of being judged, how can I know why someone else decided to do the things they do?
Is there anything meaningful to you that you’ve avoided doing because of your fear of what other people might think? On the other hand, have you ever thought or said something judgmental to someone without knowing their story?
Wear the watch. Do the thing.