Redeem the Time
“The time of life is short; to spend that shortness basely is too long.” --William Shakespeare
Whenever we “spring forward” into daylight savings time each year, I hear many people complain about losing an hour of sleep. But for those of us who work nights, it means our shift is an hour shorter. Last year I watched the clock in the corner of my computer screen when it “magically” skipped from 1:59 to 3:00. A whole hour was gone just like that. It made me think of all the times in our lives we wish we could make time skip forward in similar fashion. What if we could just push a button and “spring forward” while we were waiting in a long line at the DMV, or when we were up all night with a sick loved one and it seemed the morning would never come, or when we were in pain and anxiously hoping for the next dose of medication, or when we were so ready for the birth of a child to finally arrive, or when it seemed graduation day could not come fast enough, or when we just had one more shift to get through until vacation, or when the car ride seemed endless?
Other times in our lives are so sweet, we would give anything to stop the clock so that this moment with our children, this day of celebration, this long awaited achievement, this holiday, this romantic dinner, this relaxing getaway would never end. The reality, of course, is that we are powerless to make time go any faster in those situations in which we would want it to, or to slow it down in others. We are as bound to live by the laws of time as we are by the laws of gravity. The hour we “lose” in the spring will be regained when we “fall back” and have an extra hour of sleep or work, as the case may be.
All we can do is make the most of the time given to us. None of us knows how much time we have on earth, and time spent wishing for the clock to speed up or slow down is time wasted. Instead, maybe we can take some time this week to reflect on how to live in the present reality in which God has placed us. What can we do to savor the wonderful moments of our lives for the gifts that they are? How can we make times of suffering more bearable for ourselves and others? What can we learn in the “in-between” times when it seems all we can do is wait? Though timeless, God chooses to enter time for us, to be present with us at each moment. Recognizing that eternal presence in the midst of the most mundane or special times of our lives can make all the difference.
God, it is so hard for us to live within the constraints of time. Help us to pay attention to our present, learn from our past, and hope for our future, knowing that you are at work in all three. May your loving presence guide us through each moment, the ones we wish we could skip over as well as the ones we wish we could freeze forever. Amen.-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent