“It needs doing” and “it needs to be done” are different.
A few of my friends encourage me to use the phrase “it needs doing” instead of “it needs to be done.” I appreciate this encouragement, as the longer I live the more pleasure I find in the ability to express myself precisely. This particular encouragement has also caused me to reflect on the difference between the progress to be made (what needs doing) and future state to be achieved (what needs to be done). This distinction came to mind of the past few weeks as I visited friends with several infants among them.
Some things in life—many, in fact—need to be done. A babies diaper needs to be replaced. How it gets to that state to replacement is mostly irrelevant; if we could jump right from soiled to clean without the intervening steps of removing the old and applying the new, very little would be lost.
But some things need doing instead. Babies need hugging. They don’t need to be hugged; the state of having been hugged is not the goal. The doing of the the hugging is what matters.
As I have reflected on this distinction, I realized that there are probably many more things that need doing than need to be done. In fact, it may be that in the Lord’s estimation mortality needs doing, all of it: the paying of bills and the changing of diapers and the hitting of thumbs with hammers and the dying of loved ones; but also the laughing at jokes and the expressing of love and the succeeding and rejoicing and sharing.
Perhaps my friends have this in mind when they encourage me to speak in terms of doing, not getting done. Perhaps they know that the shift in my wording will result in my greater satisfaction in living life.
Intended or not, it was a lesson that needed teaching, and for which I am deeply grateful.