Don’t Fear the Reaper May Not Be the Best Advice

I’ve never chosen one word for the year as seems to be the fashion lately.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, you simply scrap the lists of resolutions and focus your efforts on one word. For example, “joy,” “courage,” “mindful,” or “simplify.” Had I chosen a word for the year, I think it would’ve been “reap.”

In my 21st year of marriage, 15th year of motherhood, and the 20th year in this house, for some reason, I feel like I’m doing a lot of reaping. And contrary to the old Blue Oyster Cult classic, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” doesn’t seem like such good advice whether you add more cowbell or not.

Jeremiah 17:10
I don’t mean fear as in cowering in a corner, quaking in my proverbial boots. I don’t mean fear as in lost sleep and useless worry. I mean fear as in fear of the Lord – having a reverential  respect for something.

I remarked yesterday that the house we’ve lived in for 19 years looks more like we moved in last week. (Reaping the harvest of years of neglect and poor decision-making.) The number on the scale shows I weigh more than I ever have before. (Reaping the harvest of years in which I failed to make time for exercise and eating healthy.) The too regular, too frequent arguments with my husband. (Reaping the harvest of more than a decade of averaging 1-2 date nights a year and not carving out time together at home.)

There are more that I’ll spare you. And there are some good harvests too. Watching my children grow into responsible, kind individuals. (Reaping the harvest of long years of guidance and discipline.) Completing novels that at least some people enjoy reading. (Reaping the harvest of countless hours of writing, learning, editing, and slogging away.) Eliminating most debt. (Reaping the harvest of financial discipline.)

Of course, not everything follows a simple reap/sow equation. You can sow a perfect row, and weeds may still creep in. You can neglect the garden, and still reap the bounty. But for the most part, the two will correlate.

And so it is with life. With our souls. With our loved ones.  I could take a lot more care in  what I’m sowing. Because the long days pass quickly. Months fly by. The years multiply. And I may wish I’d had a little more fear. Sowed a little more carefully. And been more satisfied with the harvest.


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4 thoughts on “Don’t Fear the Reaper May Not Be the Best Advice

  1. I had never heard of the One Word resolution method, but looked it up with your link and think it’s a great idea. You said yours is “reap” which immediately made “sleep” pop into my head and I thought, “YES!” 🙂 Then I read further, sighed with resignation, and realized that, no, napping for a whole year isn’t such a fantastic goal after all. As a mother and author, I should also choose “reap” and treasure these years while I still have young children and tons of book ideas, because someday it will be too late and opportunity will have passed me by. Great blog post, as always!

    • Thanks, Susan! (And I don’t think “sleep,” is too bad, esp. for someone like me who tends to skimp on it or lacks the discipline to go to bed at a decent hour!)

  2. This is such a thoughtful post. It makes me want to make a list of my goals and see how far I’ve come, what I’ve neglected, and what I need to shift focus on. Time goes by way too fast, and we’ll run out of chances and “do overs” for some things.

    • I think goals are a big part of it. My husband and I made concrete goals about one thing – and that was getting rid of any debt other than our mortgage, and it was so productive. We need to translate it to other areas, esp. since as a writer I thrive on deadlines.

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