Tuesday, August 03, 2010

::A Reflection on Time::

have heard, on more than one occasion, this week that "people are busy. . . there's only so much time to pursue other people." I am concerned that this very popular belief is mostly founded, and perpetuated by, an insidious untruth. Let me explain.

Some say that we are busier now, in this high-speed techno-age, than our forefathers ever were. Really? I am sitting here typing with the whirrr of my bread maker in the background. My great-great grandmother had to pound her dough out and scrub her laundry and darn her children's clothing with thread and needle. No, we aren't busier, we just have new choices to make.

Some say that one should not place ministry before spouse and family. I would ask what ministry looks like to you? To me it looks like a family affair. When I am bringing people into my home and sharing food and fellowship with them, this is done with my family by my side. They are an organic part of it. They are an extension of me. They offer a true reflection of who Aidan and I are, what we value and how we truly live. And as we open ourselves up to others, is there not time to glance sideways and rejoice in one another? To watch one another? To see deeply into the little hearts of our children as they share? And sift through the meaning and beauty of the words of a husband as he speaks?

Some say that time is far more scarce for one person than another. Yes, circumstances greatly affect our availability to give yet more: the child with special needs, the job that burdens with arduous hours, the illness that immobilized. Yes. And to that I say, it is the responsibility of those of us with excess time flowing through our fingers to gift it to such as these-- Lavishing our surplus upon the ones in deficit. And with some thoughtfulness and creativity it is easily done. Food, flowers, music, encouraging words, a readiness to ease the burden. We can tailor our giving to the one receiving, and fit it into our frenzied schedules like the missing piece that makes the puzzle whole.

I think we have confused "time" with time alone. We have come to exalt solitude, privacy and isolation. I think of Jesus climbing the hill of Gethsemane to pray alone, and then I think how he climbed back down again to carry on with his endless ministry to the broken. We have our own "hills of Gethsemane"-- Those still, dark hours in bed, before sleep comes. Likewise, the pale-lighted mornings. What's more, everyday yields up windows of time to commune with God, sometimes where we least expect. In the words of Brother Lawrence;
People seek methods of learning to know God. Is it not much shorter and more direct to simply do everything for the love of Him? There is no finesse about it. One only has to do it generously and simply. . . In continuing the practice of conversing with God throughout each day, and quickly seeking His forgiveness when I fell or strayed, His presence has become as easy and natural to me now as it once was difficult to attain.

And the sweet intimacies of family are often found with regularity in these same moments at the beginning and end of each day. Night: time alone with my husband. All the thoughts of the day are simmering on the surface of my consciousness ready to be presented to him for insight. A beautiful window of time that is available to us every single night. Morning: freshly awakened children all tussle-haired and hungry. Piling into our bed with chatter and sharp elbows. We are their captive audience. Every single day.

Evening. Morning. Alone. Can we not afford to give of ourselves during the hours that stretch between?

I think so.

I think it is healthy to empty yourself for others. Healthy to teach our children to do the same. Healthy to show that time is not our own, but God's and he will ask us to account for how we spent it. Spend it well.