Ah fiction. It has so much truth to tell…
They were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all Alice could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying “Faster! Faster!”… The most curious part of the thing was, that … however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything…. “In our country,” said Alice, … “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”
Funny, I was rooting for Alice. Not to pass anything, but to pass any one, because that is where I run. Not to get to somewhere, but to get ahead of someone. Who has the patience to fall in behind that slow car in the slow lane when there are so many places I need to get?
Alas, what if I set that vehicle on cruise control at the speed limit and thought no more about it? No worries about the police vehicle parked on the median. No concern about the motorist who stomps on the gas to power by me. No angst about the destination I will arrive at in measured time.
Imagine the worlds I might create with that clean sheet of brain space released on its own recognizance, free to travel wherever it pleased, all the while headed in the right direction?
Time and I used to be friends. I had plenty. Life was good. Then I grew up and life started making demands. That’s when time and I became enemies. Jesus says, “pray for your enemies.”
It’s really tough to pray for something as intangible as time, so I personified it. I imagined it as a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland, rabbit with a pocket watch, type person. Then it didn’t look so much like an enemy. I looked more like the enemy. What was opposing me was not time itself, but how I was spending it. And that’s the thing, resources that are scarce demand our attention and careful management. At church we call this stewardship.
Oddly enough, a few places where I might have spent my time have not materialized this fall. After I got over lamenting my “regular” activities I realized I was left with some extra time to spend. But, recognizing it’s preciousness, I admit I have become a bit stingy. At church we call this discernment.
Still, with my handful of time, I investigated the PALS information table after services yesterday. That’s the Floris partnership that matches up an adult mentor with a child at Hutchison Elementary for a once a week lunch date. I tried to be unobtrusive as I scanned the handouts on the table, but Jake McGlothin, our director of Serve ministries, caught me. I mentioned that I had some extra time this fall. Now don’t tell Jake that you have extra time. Because he is very happy to say,”Oh, you can give more than an hour? We can sign you up for a whole morning if you’d like.” I love Jake; he has an incredible heart for what he does and the people he serves.
But I recognize that I have a time temptation problem. When I hear of a need or get word of something I can do, I tend to jump at the chance. I’m in recovery, though. I’m taking it to prayer. Praying for my relationship with my (former) enemy, time, and my current enemy, my time expenditure.
Somehow, when I bring stuff to God, even my enemies look different. Oh, I can’t say He banished my enemy with a backhand. No, He is more gracious than that. He sends me small ways to address my enemies. Like a watch – that tells the time, complete with alarm, stopwatch and illumination features, but also a chime – which I accidentally activated when I was setting the alarm. It makes a precocious little “ding” on the hour. Not loud. Not intrusive. But audible, when I’m paying attention. I kind of like it. It sounds very much like a still, small voice to me.
And that’s how God has me addressing my enemy, just by paying attention. He’s shown me my complacency – in figuring I had all the time in the world. He’s shown me my value – assuring me that it does matter to Him how I spend my time. So much so that He sends me a prompt every hour.
Just a reminder, and I have come to welcome it. A quick check to see if what I am doing deserves the time I am spending on it. (Oh, there it is…time to go.)
Imagine, something so simple.