I have a recurrent problem with time. I often think that if I just had more time, then I would be happy. Or if I just got more done with the time I had, then I wouldn’t be stressed. I idolize time and serve it as if it is a god. Time does not serve me back. So I end up harried and short-tempered and feeling like a failure.
I’ve noticed this distorted relationship to time over the years, and I’ve become less beholden to the idol of time. I’ve started to learn simple practices, like taking deep breaths, laughing at myself when I’m all stressed out about getting to the dry cleaner before 5 (when it really could happen tomorrow and all would be well), and receiving the unexpected gifts of things like cheese and crackers with my husband on a random Wednesday afternoon.
So John O’Donohue’s words resonated with me when I heard him say, in an interview with Krista Tippett, “When you see time not as a product of the calendar but as the mother of presence, then you will find that in the world of spirit, time behaves differently.”
Yes. That. I want to stop living with an understanding of time as a tyrannical master and instead believe that time is a gift that allows us to be present to one another and present to love.
I also listened to Johann Hari talk with Ezra Klein about distraction and attentiveness, which convinced me (again), that part of my distress surrounding time really has to do with a lack of deliberate choices around technology. (My intention this week was two hours of uninterrupted writing/thinking/reading work each day. My reality was two hours total over the whole week.)
And I heard Corey Widmer preach about the need for rest in a restless age. His words convincted (yes, I just made up that word—it’s a combo of convicted and convinced) me that I need to relinquish my phone to Peter on Sundays so that I can receive the gift of rest, the promise of love that is independent of any accomplishment.
I am longing to worship the God of love, who is the God of a different kind of time, the kind of time that allows us to be present to one another, to ourselves, to the world. The kind of time that does not demand or punish but rather welcomes and invites and restores.
Learn more with Amy Julia:
- Going in a Circle and Sometimes Making Progress
- “The Clock Is My Humility”
- Friday Favorites and AJB Recommends
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