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Activitiy does indeed suggest a life filled with purpose. This morning I got up, I had my shower, I did my exercises, I had my breakfast, I went for my 40-minute walk, then I headed up to the church to run a service. I was busy. I ticked all the boxes!

For a while now I’ve been thinking about how much of my life is a series of ticking boxes. One box is replaced by another as the day’s tasks are completed and the next loom. I guess it’s like that for most people.

Is there more to life?

But lately I’ve been asking myself if life is more than just a series of ticking boxes. One set of boxes to be ticked; small tasks within wider tasks within even wider ones, all needing to be ticked.

I am also very aware that there is always the next issue which is pressing on my present doing. In other words, the next box is more important to my way of thinking than what I am doing right now.

Is there joy of living like that? For some people it’s fine. They think that life is to be lived by a series of rules; you either live within the rules or face the consequences.

That type of thinking can become somewhat fearful. What will the consequences be should a box not be ticked?

You’ll never get to heaven if…

We see this a lot in religion, where we are told to live our lives a certain way in order to be rewarded at the end.

I remember seeing an interview once with a Monk who lived in the harshest of monasteries. He was asked why he lived the way he did; he said it was so he would go to Heaven when he died.

I’m beginning to seriously question all of this.

This questioning started one day while I was walking. I was very pleased with myself because I had ticked all the boxes, only to realise there was another set waiting in line.

I realised the pleasure I was getting was in ticking the boxes – it didn’t matter whether I enjoyed the task or not, it was just stuff to be done.

I thought about my breakfast that morning and wondered if I had enjoyed it, only to realise I could hardly remember it.

Suddenly it become apparent how much of my life I had just ticked away. I was completely out of touch with my own body.

On a bigger picture, I had been wondering about the purpose of life. I thought about how we’re all thrown into this existence with no knowledge of how to deal with the life we’re given. We are just born into the world one day and leave it when we do.

So what is the purpose of this life?

To a box ticker, there is no answer. The box ticker is always looking to the future; there’s no enjoyment of the now.

For a long time, I have realised that part of the meaning in life is how we deal with what life throws at us. It throws good and bad stuff. I think the bad stuff can either break us, or break us open.

Those who are broken end up being mean and nasty and small-minded. Those who are broken open grow in their self and their relationships.

Enjoying each moment

At this moment I’m beginning to discover that the meaning of one’s life is found in enjoying each moment; moment to moment.

I’ve found that the magic of enjoying the wonder of now allows us to open ourselves up to others in loving compassion. In a magic way, when we stare into the eyes of another person we disappear into a collective now. It’s momentary and instant, yet eternal.

My thinking is that our purpose in this life is to enjoy, with gratitude, the moment we are in.

As we do that, we reach out in loving compassion to our brothers and sisters who are having a hard time. In that way, when life throws the hard things at us it’s the love and compassion of others that helps us through.

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  1. Kim 10 February 2021 at 12:43 - Reply

    Lovely thoughts. Thank you 🌞

  2. Vanessa Redhead 10 February 2021 at 13:08 - Reply

    You Bill Crews do have a Purpose which for A Great part of has
    been.To Love and Serve Others
    You have devoted much of your life To this
    However in this Chapter of Life we have now reached It lovely if by turning oneself inward we can foster Gratitude by Having.a Grateful.Heart and being Grateful for each.breath.we are given and give this Heart of Hearts the opportunity to recognise how precious.each Breath is and the gift of Love it brings as each Breath is experienced
    This is my.Hope for.myself and in breathing.we can live in an atmosphere Divine
    Still Ticking Off The Bloody.Boxes!

  3. Brian 10 February 2021 at 13:41 - Reply

    Very insightful, I will try to practice.

  4. Bruce Robertson 10 February 2021 at 13:57 - Reply

    be here now

  5. Chris Giles 10 February 2021 at 14:04 - Reply

    Thanks Bill .Richard Rohr said “Open your heart,clear your mind,recognise the present,accept it and live in it” Chris Giles Yesterday is history,tomorrow a mystery,today is a gift ,it’s called the present.

  6. Felicity Giles 10 February 2021 at 14:06 - Reply

    Bill….’FLAMIN’ AWESOME’…just the very questions I’ve been ‘living’…I think the shackles of formal clerical’ religion’ can bind us. .but living
    ‘AWAKE’ in the NOW with gratitude & compassion IS..BEING ALIVE..
    Thank you for affirming &,encouraging me in the big question of meaning making.
    …and .now I’ll attempt to halve THE DAILY
    Cheers Felicity

  7. Joe evans 10 February 2021 at 14:15 - Reply

    You’re on the money Bill
    We just got to remind ourselves to enjoy the present moment and forget about the other things on THE TO DO list !

  8. Cassandra 10 February 2021 at 14:22 - Reply

    Good afternoon Bill
    Wonderful blog but maybe looking forward, do not worry about expression “tick the boxes” and I am sure all will still be achieved. Love your Work.

  9. Olga Becroft 10 February 2021 at 14:42 - Reply

    Thankyou Rev Crews for the very insightful ‘blog’. Your words are very inspiring. I often ask my self similar questions : what am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life? I certainly think I’m meant to be ready and available to help my family if need be. I enjoy “being there” for my kids and grandkids without expecting anything in return. But sometimes I wonder if there is more to be gained from this life as you say besides just “ticking boxes”. Certainly there are boxes that NEED to be ticked (to get through life’s necessary rituals), there are those that you may WANT to tick (like a book you want to read or garden bed to prune), or those that are EXPECTED to be tucked ( others relying on you to help them get through their day). But then there’s the Unexpected Box that gets ticked by chance. Making a difference in the life of a child, or an elderly person in need that lifts up your own life as well as theirs. Then what a delight that is and suddenly reminds us of why we’re here.
    God Bless you Bill Crews
    Olga 🙏💖

  10. JAN LORRAINE VECCHIO 10 February 2021 at 15:28 - Reply

    I, too, often wonder what is my purpose in life. There is much more to life than ticking a never-ending pile of boxes. I have learned to treasure each moment in life. We only get one chance to live life – make the most of it.

  11. Oliver 10 February 2021 at 15:51 - Reply

    Thank you Bill. I find that this way of thinking, a gratitude for the now, allows me to bring more energy and curiosity to my present moment. This was an inspiring reminder.

  12. Hendrik Duinker 10 February 2021 at 15:55 - Reply

    You’re really getting old and wise Bill!
    God bless you for all the compassion you show for your fellow men
    .. whoever and whatever they seem to be!👏👏💪👍😇😇😇

  13. Paul 10 February 2021 at 16:09 - Reply

    Great words, Bill. I am an early riser as a tradie, and one thing I don’t take for granted is some of the truly amazing sun rises I see. I do take the time to “smell the roses” and I am not caught up with :what’s next”. Each brick wall I build, I stand back and contemplate the wall, the people who have bought this house and go on quietly laying bricks. I’m not caught up with box ticking, and that way life, although physically hard is still enjoyable. I tend to look forward to the things I enjoy, not what I have to do.

  14. Tania 10 February 2021 at 16:20 - Reply

    Not sure I agree with the broken being mean and nasty. Isn’t it these people you help ?

  15. Jo van Kool 10 February 2021 at 16:25 - Reply

    You’re right, of course. We all do it. I was led to go further and to ask myself what/who this God we talk about is. I am sending you my poem which says what I think h/she/it is. Hope you like it.
    God is ……

    not a benign being, not female or male
    neither black nor white but a very pale
    rainbow coloured essence that flows
    like a flood over desert and dry land
    seeps into crack and folded crease
    into song of magpie and currawong
    into making of war and peace.
    It cannot be seen but is always in view
    plays no part in our lives but is life itself
    to be savoured and suffered by those
    who travel the roads of joy and pain.
    This quiddity continues to creep
    down rivers that run to the sea
    live in the soil or fly with grey and white clouds
    that like puff balls sweep through the air
    and it is needed by all that grows
    with or without our being aware.

  16. Shirley Maddox 10 February 2021 at 18:56 - Reply

    Thanks Bill.

  17. Heidi Struble 10 February 2021 at 23:04 - Reply

    Yes!! I’ve been taught God is found in the present moment, and when we practice being in the now, we are in His presence. In his presence, I have no fear. I’m at peace. I can look to His creation with awe and wonder. In the morning, I ask Him to direct my thoughts and actions, so that I can be present in the gift of today.

  18. John Law 11 February 2021 at 06:17 - Reply

    Yesterday is history, tomorrow, a mystery; today is a gift, which is why it is called “the present”.

    Billy Crews – you rock :-)

  19. Heather Gutherson 11 February 2021 at 09:16 - Reply

    Sounds quite like Ecclesiastes. I think there is a case for THE TO DO LIST . I am of the opinion that the TO DO LIST has the purpose of making some order in our lives and that without it the important things, such as caring and looking out for others would “slip through the days” without even a notice. My experience can be that I can become very selfish if I only do the things that I know I will enjoy. However, those items on the TO DO LIST can become very enjoyable if we do them with our hands “in God’s hands” – pray over the TO DO LIST and it not only becomes enjoyable but also does not drag so much out of our lives.

  20. Vincent Moschella 11 February 2021 at 11:28 - Reply

    Thanks Bill. To live the present moment is so necessary. For myself, I have found that one doorway to doing so is a combination of my faith, quiet time to reflect and listening/caring for those close to me: family/friends. I am sure there are other doorways.

  21. Katherine Pace 11 February 2021 at 11:31 - Reply

    I agree with you exactly, Bill. We have to enjoy every moment of every day – we do not know what will happen tomorrow. We should take the time and effort to help others who need our assistance and to enjoy the company of our family and friends. Life is too short for a constant TO DO list!!

  22. Katherine 11 February 2021 at 13:28 - Reply

    Beautifully said!

  23. Michael Swan 11 February 2021 at 15:46 - Reply

    Rev Bill, your life, and how you conduct every aspect of it,
    shows us all the purpose of life.

  24. shirley Bagwell 11 February 2021 at 16:25 - Reply

    Yes I’m helping a friend through terminal cancer each morning instead of ticking my boxes. Supporting a friend is more worthwhile.

  25. Michael Swan 11 February 2021 at 17:56 - Reply

    Rev Bill, your life, and how you conduct every aspect of it,
    shows us all the purpose of life.

  26. Ralph Penglis 12 February 2021 at 08:49 - Reply

    Hello Bill,
    It seems that you have come to an understanding that is not intellectual but actual. The Eternal Present cannot be understood by the “ordinary everyday mind’ as we live in a time/ space illusion.
    Maybe those that have “woken up” can’t talk about it and try to explain it in parables or Zen koans.
    Waking up to this fact may require a mind that is peaceful and not caught up in its past conditioning.
    Being in nature or the presence of art, music etc. may bring about this freedom.

  27. Michael Swan 12 February 2021 at 21:15 - Reply

    Rev Bill’s life, & how he conducts all aspects of it, shows all of us the purpose of life.

  28. Dorothy Sproul 14 February 2021 at 17:43 - Reply

    Yes Bill, U agree with all you said.
    In the early years of our lives, we do have to work hard, raising a family working to earn enough to provide for all our needs , so there is little time to enjoy the moment.
    Bur , as the responsibilities lessen, then there is time to enjoy the moment.
    My husband and I had a very loving relationship, and this reflected in our teaching life in schools and the Church. Unconsciously our happiness reflected to
    everyone we were with, and then was given back to us ! We did find joy in serving .Now in old age, the small moments in simple ythings are giving pleasure.

  29. Craig Perry 15 February 2021 at 16:36 - Reply

    Thank you once again for a thought provoking blog, Bill!
    It’s a great reminder to cut down on on time spent on emails; texting & phone calls and spend more time enjoying “smelling the roses”! (& giving thanks for the ability to do so!)

  30. Michelle Lyons 15 February 2021 at 20:05 - Reply

    Thank you Bill, for your messages, of hope, inspiration and challenge.
    As a 60++ retired secondary teacher – today at school casual teaching and revising last weeks History lesson on Gandhi and todays on the life and work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I realized that you are right.

    Visiting you center in early January and seeing the need you and your workers and volunteers seek to address, many in Australia are also in considerable “need”. What did Jesus say: something about – ”the fields are ripe for harvest but the workers are few”.
    Much food for thought. Michelle – Dubbo.

  31. Lynette 21 February 2021 at 16:29 - Reply

    Most of us either live in the past or the future. Whenever I am in company I ensure that my mobile phone is tucked away safely in my handbag. It is so important to focus fully on the person or activity that you are involved in. It is also refreshing, as mobile phones can be an overload on ones mental health

  32. Allan Murray 21 February 2021 at 16:45 - Reply

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
    The Buddha

  33. Solomon David 28 February 2021 at 19:12 - Reply

    Celebrate Life to the fullest 💓

  34. Denis Mizzi 28 March 2021 at 20:54 - Reply

    A Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa wrote “Life is beautiful when it comes to my eyes in their last extremity”.If we live in the moment we will find this beauty and purpose in life.Bill your words and compassion always tick the box.Seize the moment and all the momentum it offers.Keep up the good work.

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