It’s About Time
Too much time. Not enough time. Just in time. Outta time. Make time. Lost time. Keep time. Waste time. Killing time. Poets write their silver words regaling time and others write songs lamenting of time lost. Even I’ve been spending time thinking about how powerful that single word is. How we often get caught up in so much stuff that we don’t make good use of –time. A friend of mine lost his wife, very unexpectedly. I’m sure they thought they had all the time in the world. Events like that tend to make me re-evaluate how I spend my time.
The bottom line is choice. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring I love this quote and I have no problem using it to justify my actions and choices. I absolutely love spending time with my children and this Christmas was probably last time we will have extended vacation together since my son is close to finishing college with plans of living far from home. Well – till next Christmas at least. So on the eve of his last night home, I was presented with opportunity to either play games, grade papers, or do dishes. You better believe that those dishes stayed put, and those essays stayed in my bag. It makes me wonder how often do we not take advantage of those opportunities because we feel we don’t have time? Or feel like other things are more pressing? During our wild game of Clue, I asked my children to recall their favorite Christmas memory. My older two immediately drew upon the year their dad and uncle dressed as the shepherds of old complete in bathrobes, cotton ball beards and whatever stuffed animal they could use spontaneously. Their improv routine was more like a bit from the Lewis and Martin years. I am thankful that moment of time is forever pressed in their hearts as well as preserved on DVD since we lost their uncle a few years later in a tragic car accident. Trust me – it is time well spent making precious memories nay – it is priceless.
I’ve always been a people person, so much so that my family still finds it hard to believe I was a painfully shy teenager. Yet – there are times I need to spend in solitude, peace and quiet to collect my thoughts. Especially after a day of dealing with the never-ending neediness of my middle school students I teach. I need those moments to allow my mind and body to re-boot so to speak. Guess one would call that Me-Time. There is nothing wrong in that, even Jesus had that. But is it really “my time”? Not really. Sometimes my “me time” involves retail therapy. We make our plans and such, but the one who is not bound by time or space is ultimately in charge of our time. I don’t know how many times I’ve had moments of running into someone while out and about town. I call it a “divine appointment” because that not so random meeting turns out to be just the bolt of encouragement I need. ( I also have this theory that if you dress down from your normal work attire, like my teacher clothes, you will run into 10–30 students and their parents.) But that bolt of encouragement – well this happened again just a few weeks ago, during one of my physical therapy sessions and after a particularly harsh day at school which left me questioning my ability as a teacher. I encountered a former student, who just so happened to be there for a PT session too. This young man, on a daily basis, made me smile with his quick wit, kindness, and random poems that would be left occasionally on my desk. After we visited awhile, I felt better, but the highlight of that not so random meeting, was seeing a note in my Inbox the following day. You guessed it –another original poem.
A much wiser person than I also spoke about time and how there is a time for everything from being born to dying, planting and reaping, weeping and laughing. It all shows a balance and to me time is a precarious balance. Again – the center of this is choice. There will always be fantastic adventures or opportunities or temptations or obligations set before us that sound wonderful and necessary. Yet – they are often thieves of time. Until someone really does invent a magic time machine, we cannot go back in time to re-gain lost time. But we do have something to help in the present and it does provide a way of escape. It’s the word – “No.” Easier said than done I know. Yet learning how to not over commit and how to balance our time is well worth the time.
So on that note, remember time is short, time is precious, time is a gift. Don’t waste it.