Using Time Like {Dad}

I sit staring at this screen.

This is my allotted time for writing… and I have nothing to say.

Or too much to say…

Whichever it is… I’m still only staring.

So I looked over at my dad and said, “What should I write about today.”

Without a blink, he said “Time.”

Time.

A million thoughts race through my head.

How much I have.

How little I have.

How poorly or well I spend it.

Quality versus quantity.

How Jesus spent his time. (Here’s a neat article that I won’t re-write)

How precious it can be… and how painful.

How time can be wasted or full lived.

Cut off or endured.

The clock ticks above me… tick, tick, tick.

I can be in this moment… and not.

Living in the future of to-dos or in the past of too-bads.

Ultimately, what I know, is that the time I am given is limited. I can squander it on my own fascinations or use it for greater causes and purposes than I can even imagine having a stake in.

Like sitting on the floor, playing a game with my small ones.

Or having a conversation about life with my older ones.

Listening to my husband unload his day so he can breather easier, shoulders lighter.

Great causes.

Causes often categorized under “too slow,” “not productive enough,” or “boring.”

Causes whose own clocks are tick, tick, ticking… limited.

Until I’ve missed it entirely. The season is gone. The games are dusty. The conversations are echoes of the past. Missed moments in the name of multi-tasking efficiency.

The laundry was done, the dishes washed, the carpets cleaned… but hearts neglected.

The quality of a moment lies not in the task or its achievement… but in the lives touched because of how it was spent.

Just ask my dad.

He has never once been too busy to stop and talk.

He’s never brushed me off for some big, important world issue to solve (though there are plenty of them).

He’s never cut me off short to attend a meeting.

Or cancelled an appointment.

NEVER.

Every moment is spent investing, personally, in the lives of others.

Through coaching, advising, supporting, assisting, listening, waiting, teaching, advocating, encouraging… being present.

Because personal life investment can happen anywhere, anytime, regardless of what you’re doing.

Because the task is secondary. It’s the tool. The conduit through which you have access to the lives of others… and can speak life into them.

How confused I get about the purpose of a moment! The purpose of the activity I am part of! That cooking dinner is not just about filling empty tummies… but expressing concern, love, and affection for those in my life who are hungry.

It’s not about the food.

It’s about their hearts.

That in the time I’m given, that they are given, that each moment speaks affirmation.

No matter how mundane the “tool” that’s used.

Time.

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect… Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1: 17-19,22

 

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 24 of 31 Days in 2012.

The Beginning

I’ve been mulling over the purpose of this blog. I’ve decided that this will be a place where we (you and I) share the things that bring our life passion and excitement. We all want a life of quality… one well lived and above and beyond the mundane and monotonous.

I know I have many experiences in life that have lent themselves to meaning far greater than myself. Experiences that enlightened my perspective, reformed my view, or simply held great significance that was worth noting and retaining. Many of these moments have been recorded  and filed away.

Knowing this, I pulled out journals from my past and began perusing the pages, hunting for those grand moments that make the rest of life bearable. And though I found those moments penned by my hand at various stages in life, as I knew I would, I actually found something far greater. I remembered how important it is that we record our life stories.

For many hours over the last days, my heart and mind were sucked into the past through the pages of my journals. Emotions surfaced that I had almost long forgotten. Visions and pictures danced in my mind as the words unlocked doors of memory. What most amazed me was how far I’ve progressed as a person in life! The girl on the pages of my first year married is a very different girl than the one married almost seven years today! Same pen, perhaps, but very different person. The man I described in that first year is also incredibly different, and I realized how much more in love I am now than I was then. Things only realized in light of the hardships and pure pleasures that we have experienced.

I read through so many prayers… of thanksgiving, of praise, of pain, and of total anguish. How many times I realized that my prayers or words had been fulfilled in future events and days to come. What a huge blessing to remember that I had prayed many of the things I am now experiencing.

My trip backwards through the years did not require a special time-travel machine. It did not require large sums of money or even sick days from “work” (or, mommy-hood, in my case). I simply traveled through a  journal in which I had so carefully treasured much of my heart and its meanderings.

Not only was that experience incredible for me…. to remind me of where I’ve come from, the mistakes I’ve made, the miracles I have seen, or the blessings I have been a part of… but I know those written words will also one day unlock the “mystery of mommy” to my children and grand children. Along with photo albums, those words document the heart and soul of their mother… something I only hope to have pieces of when my own mother passes. And its a void in my life for those people who’ve passed and left little of themselves to get to know through their writing.

Maybe you don’t feel like a writer. Maybe you hate to read. Maybe you love it! Regardless, may you find some time each day or even week, to record your prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams, and goals. Record your struggles and your successes. May your words become the hope of generations to come, inspiration for those you live among today, and a preservation not only of your past, but of the legacy you are aligned with. Go forth and journal! 🙂

Journaling tips:

1. Remember that whatever you write is visible to anyone… as safe as it may seem. Only right what you don’t mind someone seeing!

2. Journaling can be very therapeutic. If you must write things you don’t want others to see, DO! Then destroy it if you need to! I’ve done this many times!

3. The journal does NOT have to be fancy. Go to a dollar store and buy a spiral notebook. You can also find books designed to be journals at stores like Amazon, Barnes n Noble, Borders, etc.

4.Not every entry has to be about some supernatural experience or moment of significance! If you really have nothing to say, just write about your day! Start with what you did and see where your hand goes!

5. Don’t give up. If a month goes by, fine! Sit down and journal whenever you have the chance. Find some quiet time to reflect on your day, your life, your favorite song or food… and record it.

6. Discretion. I have many times written emotional letters to people and given it to them- when really it should have been only for me. If you want to write a letter to someone, do. Then keep it. Put it in your journal. I’ve done this with emails too. Usually the second or third time I write it, I’ve been able to weed out the things that don’t need to be said and have actually written a letter I can give.


Share