With a sigh I pick up my laptop case. Loading my wallet, phone and keys into my pockets, I catch a glimpse of my watch – it’s nudging 8am and even with a minuscule commute of 900m I’m regretting that there won’t be enough hours in the office today. So much to do, so many things to sort out and all washed down with the ever present certainty that any plans I have will be trumped by urgent interruptions as usual. Such is life. Well certainly it feels that such is MY work life.
As I head out the door, I call a gentle farewell to my cat. “Goodbye Misty, have a good day sleeping”, I say. A gentle smile creases my face as I wonder whether I really am slightly jealous or would just be bored stupid living a cat’s life, but I’m late and so I hustle out my front door …
… and promptly slip on a slick wet concrete floor. Lying on the floor, it slowly dawns on me that something’s definitely wrong. Where is my wooden verandah? Why is it raining? From the corner of my eye I see a steady stream of traffic queued along the street at the end of my cull-de-sac. That’s not necessarily strange. With the army base nearby, a change of shift can block the street for a few minutes each day, but these cars are headed in the wrong direction. The shadows are different too.
I ponder these things for a few moments, when finally the sheer scale of the wrongness manages to impress itself on my consciousness. This is not my time. All around me, the familiar trappings of my neighbourhood have been changed. High-rise apartments line the road, out-numbering the few remaining houses. I recognise none but the most exhausted looking models of car driving on the road, and I’m lying in the entryway to an apartment block where my house used to be. When on earth am I?
Pulling myself to my feet, I reach for my laptop case. I really love my laptop. Supplied by work, it is a great machine. Sleek and light but powerful, it cost a bomb and still packs a punch compared to most. Or does it? I pause, reminding myself of the ‘progress’ in evidence around me. How far have I come? How antiquated is my laptop now? My phone, my keys, my clothes? My skills?
Just moments ago I’d been on my way to work, to a job and company that is now … Well I don’t know.
What has become of my work? What has become of the products I laboured to create, the effort and meetings expended to achieve each goal? I didn’t labour just to work a job, but because I hoped it would be valuable. That it would make a difference. Was I right?
They often say that on your death bed you don’t regret the hours you didn’t spend at the office, but the hours you didn’t spend with your loved ones. I wonder who mourned at my disappearance? Who missed me and for what reason? What of my life has endured? Who benefited from my various labours and who heard of the gospel of grace?
I notice that behind me the door is closing, and through it my familiar home with my wife, my cat and my life. I can make it back through if I’m quick, but will I wisely use this precious insight?