Word of the Week

I find myself being aware of the fact that I think about time almost all the time. . . . .

How I don't have enough of it. How fast it seems to fly on Saturdays: the one day of the week I get to spend completely with Kevin and other non-church friends.

How slow it seems to tick on Monday afternoons when it is just not time to go home yet.

How I'm already hoping God grants me some bonus years so I can go and do and see all I dream about experiencing, though I realize I'm only 31, with seemingly a lifetime ahead of me.

And, most of all, I think about how time is the great leveler for us all, rich, poor and middle class alike. We all get a chance at the same amount. Though 'they' say you can buy happiness, no one can buy time.

I have a friend, Sarah who lives with her husband and two small children in intentional community in North Carolina. Intentional community is just a fancy way of saying that she lives with others, both married and single alike, by choice, creating a makeshift family where all contribute to the financial and emotional load of the house. Sarah does not work full-time as most thirty somethings fresh out of school do. It's a lifestyle she began even before she had kids or was married. It has been her choice to devote her life to causes that she believes in first rather than her time being eaten up by the demands of a paycheck.

When I asked her why she chose to work less (and how in the world could she pay the bills?), she told me that the more she worked, the less simply she could live. And, living was more important for her.

Sure, she'd miss out on buying new clothes or getting fancy haircuts or go on trips without the consistency of a full-time income, but she'd also have the gift of time in exchange. She'd have time to garden. She'd have time to read. She'd have time to help the kids in her neighborhood with their homework whose parents were sight unseen. She'd have time to share lunch with her husband and friends who came in town to visit. Most of all she'd have time to contribute to the human race by breathing alongside it and actually being aware that she was doing so.

It's been years now since Sarah and I had this conversation, but its delightful tone has pierced me ever since.

More work= less time but more stuff (do we really need it?)

Less work= more time but less stuff (but stuff really isn't that bad when we need it?)

However, unless the solution to all of our time problems is to live in co-housing communities with one another (which simply just don't work with every lifestyle), what are we to do to make our lives simpler? Where are we to find time?

Thanks to my new ministerial colleague, Mary Ann, I've been musing more about the concept of Sabbath. Mary Ann, her husband and kids are engaging in a project of celebrating Sabbath (a day of rest from work) intentionally and she's writing about their experience in book to be published in 2012 called: The Sabbath Year. Mary Ann's project  (and the act of writing about it too) is forging a way of keeping the Sabbath as a lifestyle-- in the craziness of life in the DC metro area with three small children alongside-- enjoying time as God's gift to us.

What if we all weren't in a race against time? Practically, Mary Ann's words have stirred me to re-think Kevin and my run around crazy on Saturday trying to get errands done routine. Do we really have to go to Target every week?

Because isn't time is what we all make it to be? In the same way that my friend Sarah has made choices with her vocational pursuits to carve out time for people and things that matter in her life, so we all have the opportunity to make similar choices in each week's plans.

Though the phrase "I'm busy" or "I don't have time to ____" seems to rattle off all our tongues as quickly as "I'm hungry," we often have already made the choice to be busy. We allow our time to be eaten by stuff, no matter if the decision is conscience or not.

So, do we really have all the time we need-- in our weeks (to get the house chores done), in our months (to attend to the goals at work we'd said we complete asap), in our years (to fulfill all our dreams for ourselves and our families)?

Maybe we do in a spiritual frame of reference of time. Maybe such is possible, if less consuming lifestyle habits and Sabbath days of rest found its rhythms into us. Maybe. I'll keep thinking about it.