Where did the time go today?
Perhaps it fled during the half hour spent persuading a scared little boy to immerse an ouchie in warm water in order to wash it clean? My half hour of coaxing and cajoling (and bribing!) fail. He exits the tub, still crying, to sit on a stool and have me bathe it gently with a facecloth dipped in salt-ish water… I watched his little face relax and light up, as he realized it wasn’t going to hurt after all. I try not to remember how much time I feel has been wasted. (Or was it wasted? Perhaps in God’s eyes it wasn’t wasted time…?)
And then I know that more time fled as I coaxed children through a conflict resolution session due to the screaming that sets my blood pressure soaring in an instant. I believe this is long term work, with fruit that I will see, maybe not in days, or weeks even… but I trust that I will see results. But it takes time to teach. Over and over again. Daily, really. Time, precious time, in which I really should be working on my meal plan and my grocery list. (Or… should I?) After the conflict resolution, I forget what task I had been at, and seeing laundry needing folding, I set about that task, and then remembering that I need to call the doctor to book an app’t for the kids, and then responding to a tenants’ request for ‘grace’ on this, the first day of a new month (where did the last month go anyway?!??)… then, oh yes, I suddenly remember the meal plan… but I forget where I have placed the piece of paper I was using… and the pen too…
During a brother’s piano lesson more time was spent talking about food projects that are on my little boy’s desired repetoire of recipes to cook. He wants to make broccoli soup. And he desires to make his own bread. He just turned 7 and he’s thinking ahead to when he may “become hungry in the night and need a midnight snack of fresh bread and butter”. (Yes, being able to make bread may come in handy for those days…) Bread has been something I have been wanting to do for months now. So why haven’t I done it? Something about “time” and “not having enough of it” or believing that other things (like math, or phonics) might be more important than kneading dough. (But perhaps not?)
Yet more time fled when I sent the bickering kids outside to burn off some energy, so that I could have some space to regroup and to regain some peace in my heart, only to have one come in crying not 10 minutes later, soaking wet. He had fallen off his bike into a slushy puddle – socks, pants, shoes, coat and mittens all sopping wet… and his face wet too, from his tears. Helped him get wet clothes off, and near heat vents to dry… and the others come trooping in. Hungry, they said. Sigh. So much for regrouping time.
At snack time I was feeling a bit pinched that we hadn’t spent a lot of time on ‘academics’ so I insisted that the kids help me count as high as we could in French, over the roar of the vacuum cleaner that I had going, picking up the millions of crumbs and dirties that seem to multiply incessantly on the floor. There never seems to be enough time to clean up, to keep on top of the dirty fingerprints, the cluttery counter tops, the paper stacks that come in through the front door, the dustbunnies lurking in corners, the bathroom… oh, the bathroom, don’t even get me started…
Somehow time fled between the time we arrived home from piano lessons, and the early dinner that we ate in order to make it to karate on time. I drove like a harried-mom-on-the-lam to the rec center, hearing the van’s high revs. I prefer to feel less harried, less hurried.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…” Ecc.3:1
A time for ouchies, and a time for healing. A time for conflict, and a time for peace. A time for teaching, and a time for learning. A time for lists, and a time for laundry. A time for bread making, and a time for phonics. A time for biking, and a time for puddles. A time for tears, and a time for comfort. A time for snack and a time for counting. A time for piano and a time for karate. A time for mess and a time for cleaning up.
May you, O God, the God of all time, and of every purpose under heaven, grant us peace in the midst of the fleeting brevity of hours in a day. Please take our meagre offerings of tasks and time and choices and transform them into an amazing quilt of life, held together with your threads of joy. Please make us thankful for the moments that you give to us. Help us use them well.