January 26, 2010 // Uncategorized

Time to start savoring the time we have

It begins at an early age, quite possibly on a family vacation in which an automobile is the mode of transportation.

An hour slips by, two hours, three. … Okay, now the novelty of this exciting family excursion gives way to the desire to arrive at the destination.
“Are we there yet? How much longer? I can’t wait until …”

Isn’t that the mantra of most Americans? I can’t wait until … We just can’t wait. Of course, we can and we do wait. But we claim we can’t wait until a certain amount of time has passed before we get to the good stuff, the real fun in life.

We can’t wait until the semester is over to get to Christmas vacation. We can’t wait until we graduate from high school so we can go to college. We can’t wait to graduate from college so we can earn some money. We can’t wait until 5 p.m. Friday so we can enjoy the weekend.
In other words, we spend a good portion of our lives wishing time away.

Think about that. We ride the roller coaster of life, measuring discomfort and pleasure based upon the comparative fun/drudgery of each of life’s events. Mondays are bad; Saturdays are good. Mondays can wait; Saturdays can’t.

Now this is completely natural and normal. We’ve all probably done it to some extent, some more than others. It’s natural to look forward to the more enjoyable things in life.

But as I grow older, I find myself doing this less and less, or at least trying to do this less and less. I don’t want to wish away January and February, even though northern Indiana weather the first two months of the year can be uncomfortable. The snow is beautiful. I love building fires in the fireplace. I don’t care for sliding into a ditch with my car, but if I slow down, it’s less likely to happen.

When your child is an infant and is waking up for a 3 a.m. feeding, you can’t wait until he’s older so he will sleep through the night. The next thing you know, you’re dropping him off for the start of first grade. Then he’s learning how to drive.

When my son was young and I was coaching him in baseball, I couldn’t wait until he was older because the older he got, the better he played. So the passing of time was a good thing.

Then one day, he came to bat in the sectional championship game of his senior year, and as I stood in the third base coach’s box, it hit me. Here I was wishing for time to pass in his baseball playing days, and now, trailing six runs in the last inning — unless he was about to hit a six-run homer — my son was coming to bat for me for the last time.

Suddenly, I could wait, and I asked the umpire for time so I could savor the moment with my son just a little longer.

Now, he’s a junior at Notre Dame. He will spend this semester in Athens, Greece. He is thrilled about spending five months abroad. He’s already been to Dublin and London. He will spend Easter in Rome. My wife and I are thrilled for him, and thankful to God for our many blessings.

Now here I am again, selfishly wishing away time. We can communicate with him. We can check on him frequently, and he’ll contact us. We want the best for him and that’s where he wants to be. But as I write this, I know he won’t be returning home for another 130 days. Not that I’m counting or anything.

We need to fight the temptation to wish away time because after all, our time on this earth is always running out. Wouldn’t it make more sense if we experienced our time on this earth instead of enduring it?

Everyone needs to take a break from the more strenuous times. But wouldn’t it be better if we rode through life’s ups and downs and enjoyed the ride instead of wishing it away?

If every day were a holiday, those free times wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable. We would take them for granted. Hectic can be good, too. It means we are alive, that we’re needed, that our actions as they pertain to the people we interact with carry some importance.

Besides, after this life, we will have all kinds of time, and if we play our cards right now, it will be the most enjoyable time imaginable. We will have an eternity without Mondays or Saturdays. There will be no days or time or any kind of demarcation from one moment to the next. Time will disappear.
In fact, time disappears all too quickly on earth as it is, even when we’re not wishing it away. Why speed up the process?

So I will try to avoid looking at the calendar every day, counting the days until my son returns home. I will try to live that day to the fullest, rolling with the punches and taking the time to step back, express thanks for my blessings, and then move on to the next moment in time.
You want to save time? Try savoring it.

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