“But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them” ~Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle
Lately I’ve become intensely aware that time is perhaps the most important–and scarce–commodity in my life at the moment. For a while, I thought it was money, and to be sure, money was tight. But when I look at my life over the past few years in particular, what I’ve noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours n the day to do the things I want to do. And I’m not talking about things like learning to play golf or traveling to various exotic international destinations–both of which I want to do. It also includes things like writing my family history, developing and leading retreats for women, and volunteering with a local food pantry or a local animal shelter.
I spend nearly an hour each morning writing in my journal, then 9, 10, 11 hours at work focused on a variety of issues, get home, watch the evening news while I eat dinner, spend a few minutes playing with my canine sidekick, take another hour to write and post this blog, at least 30 minutes for my daily conversation with me BFF, and then it’s off to bed, to get up and start the whole thing again. I find myself wondering where the day got to and how on earth I can cut something out so I can squeeze in something else that want to do but haven’t figured out how to make time for. God forbid I should ever want to start dating again (shudder…)
When I think about Jesus and how much he was probably doing over the course of the day, every day, seven days a week (including the Sabbath, which got him into trouble) it’s no wonder he occasionally had to withdraw from all the crowds and hubbub. He knew he had a very finite time in which to do his work before he checked out of this world.He may or may not have known the exact day and time when the bottom was going to fall out of his life, but he did know sort of what was coming and approximately when. He knew he had to keep moving, keep reaching out, keep helping people, keep speaking out against injustice because he had work to do and a short amount of time in which to do it.
I do not know what time I have–I could live another 30 years or I could live another 30 seconds. I do not know. The question then becomes, how do I want to spend it? This is a classic question, if you knew you only had three months to live, how would you spend that time? This is where it gets complicated and often where money enters the equation. Financial resources are what gives some of us the degrees of freedom to be able to carve out time to go do the fun stuff, the fulfilling work, or learn a new craft. Those days when I was unemployed, I had a lot of time on my hands, but very little disposable income to do the kinds of things I mentioned earlier. Now I am working and once again have financial resources, but not nearly enough time.
It’s a real dilemma, one that I have yet to figure out. But I’m getting closer. It really is about how to be in the moment, this moment right now. How can I fully inhabit and be present for the moments that are right in front of me? Can I find joy in this moment? Can I find love? Do I have exactly what I need in this moment? My friend Jane would call these existential questions. They are too deep and I am too tired to fully answer them, but I believe I am onto something.
Yesterday I wrote about finding our calling, that thing we are meant to do, that thing we must do, that our soul is calling for us to do. One of the keys to that whole piece is the exquisite experience that we have when something feels completely and utterly right. That sense we have of “Yes, this is it” happens in a moment, in an instant. We feel it and know perfection. We experience that in the moment. We want to freeze time and feel that way forever, to know that joy, that bliss. Of course we cannot freeze time. But the experience of that moment in time gives us something to build on or a path to follow.
When I was a child, I dreamed of being a writer (and a cowboy). A lot of life happened and instead of following that desire and passion, I took a very different route from what I had imagined. First I became an almost scientist–working very hard in my science classes and breezing through my composition and writing classes. (My heart’s desire was trying to get my attention even then. Yoo hooooo!) Then for many years I ran all kinds of programs that in one form or another helped people, mostly young people. The one thread that ran through the course of much of my life was writing. But I wasn’t a writer, or so I told myself.
When I was unemployed for a stretch of time, and then underemployed for another, I started writing a daily blog on gratitude (Lessons in Gratitude). It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that–putting my words out into the world. Even though it was a relatively small world, it was out there. When I started it, it was mostly to help me maintain a positive focus in my life during a period when I was struggling with so many things in my life. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into, but I started writing and over 1,000 days later I finally penned the last post, before taking up “Consider This.” I haven’t published my novel or my memoirs or my family history, or anything else. But I most certainly am a writer. And in so many ways, “Yes, this is it.”
And so in the same way I have been living my calling after all these years, I am determined to live in each moment as best I can, because in each moment I have all the time in the world.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. ~Henry Van Dyke