No Apologies® - the truth about life, love + sex

Malaysia17 Oct 2017

Participants Reached

94,342

Pledges Made

(91%) 85,586

Workshops conducted

1,877

Time Enough For Me

My eyes flew open to a strange, eerie silence. I rolled over and glared at the red numbers on my alarm clock: 8:32. It hadn't gone off, and I was already late for class.

I leapt out of bed, threw on yesterday's clothes and rushed out the door. On the road, I grumbled at the sluggish drivers. Don't they realize I'm late?

My eyes flew open to a strange, eerie silence. I rolled over and glared at the red numbers on my alarm clock: 8:32. It hadn't gone off, and I was already late for class. I leapt out of bed, threw on yesterday's clothes and rushed out the door. On the road, I grumbled at the sluggish drivers. Don't they realize I'm late?

My university years were permeated by anxiety about time — there was never enough of it. I kept asking myself how I could possibly get all my reading done, write my papers, prepare for exams, be with friends, sleep, work with homeless teenagers, all within a 24-hour day.

Technology fuels the time treadmill. Cell phones, high-speed internet, call-waiting and caller ID don't save time as much as they accelerate and complicate it. Why have one phone conversation when I could be having two? Why focus on writing a single article when I could simultaneously be dashing off a dozen e-mails? Why take a long, leisurely walk, when I could also be chatting on my cell phone?

Separating the Stuff From the Fluff

A few years back, I dog-sat for a woman whose home was, alarmingly, cluttered with every imaginable object. A friend explained, "This woman lived through the Depression. She couldn't toss things if she wanted to."

Oddly enough, despite today’s widespread prosperity, our generation feels poor, too. Our poverty mentality is not related to our material existence but to our relationship with time. Two generations back, they pinched pennies (for weeks on end, my grandfather faithfully re-used a single strand of dental floss which he kept draped over a nail), but our generation pinches minutes or, more accurately, we are pinched by minutes. We just scrape by, sensing that time moves faster than we do, and one of these days, it's going to run out on us completely.

Perhaps we allow our days to become filled with junk, simply because we fear a few empty moments. Or perhaps we don't want to let a single opportunity pass us by, so we say “yes” to more than we can manage.

Looking back, instead rushed through my university days, I could have eased-up on myself and been less frazzled. I could have relaxed a bit about my Grade Point Average, I could have skimmed more books, and said “no” to a few more people. I could have ordered my life around the sanity-saving advice of one of my mentors: "Learn to do just as well as you can, in the moment you're in, with the resources you have."

Being Time-Savvy

Our task, when it comes to time, may be to salvage what is valuable and chuck all that is not. Truly effective people learn to let the small stuff go. I'm not so good at this. One time, while turning in a torturous twenty-page paper, I suddenly realized that I'd left the bibliography at home. I was so frustrated that I nearly broke down in front of my teacher. His stern face softened and he shook his head at me. "Jenny, there are big things in life, and there are little things. This is a little thing."

Discernment is not just about learning how to spend our time. It is, in a deeper sense, learning what time is. When we realize that every moment is a gift, our days become infused with gratitude. As I write, my toddler daughter stares out the living room window. A few moments ago, I caught her there, seeped in late afternoon sunlight. She looked up at me, blinked, and said in her best toddlerease: "Chou-Chou God, Sun." (Translation: thank you, God, for the sun.)

My daughter's gratitude reminds me that it is more natural to pause, to lean into the fullness of the moment before us, than it is to pant our lives away on the time treadmill. She reminds me to live in the present, because as a toddler, that's just about all she knows. C.S. Lewis wrote that the present moment is, in some sense, the only one. "The present is the point at which time touches eternity… in it alone, freedom and actuality are offered."

By becoming more discerning about time, we find that we actually have enough of it. We can approach every moment armed with this question: what is the one thing needful? This question helps us grasp the stuff and chuck the fluff. Only then can we understand why "enough" is a wonderful word.

Adapted from “Time Enough for Me” by Jenny Schroedel, published on Boundless.org, a website of Focus on the Family. © 2004 Jenny Schroedel. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Related Content

relevance-action