I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately.
I’m sure you are not surprised that I think about time.
As the year ends, maybe you are thinking about time too.
I am keenly aware of how I spend my time, what I want to do with my time, what time permits me to do, and what time doesn’t let me get done.
One of the things I often say to my kids: use your time wisely.
I’d love to use my time to write more, create more, get to Adoration and daily mass more, walk more (if at all), travel more, spend time with loved ones, and simply sleep more uninterrupted.
But alas, these days, my time is not my own.
I do my very best to protect our time (and my heart) and do my best to honor others’ time as well.
Sometimes I can only hold so much in each moment in time. Then, I need to confess because my emotions run high. So we protect our time with healthy boundaries, so stability and tranquility remain our focus.
I sometimes secretly (or not so much) wish others would consider doing that more too.
A few months ago, I saw this wall of clocks.
At the time (the end of October), I was fascinated by what it represented. I could have gotten lost in time, staring at the wall all day. Likely not a good use of my time as I had people waiting in the car for me.
But I love clocks, especially old, antique ones that convey time and stories of a time gone by. I just don’t like to be bound by time.
Last year, after posting a reflection and a photo with a clock in the background, I shared my love for clocks with a friend. I told her I have many timepieces throughout my home. Ironically, many have lost their hands or no longer accurately recognize the passage of time. Good thing I set timers on my phone, or else I’d be late for everything. I used to be late for everything.
But where did those hands of time go?
And where does the time go?
Time is fleeting.
One day I began to notice that the hands had fallen off my old clocks or the clocks just no longer moved with time.
It wasn’t on purpose those hands or time were lost. I may need to replace the batteries.
Maybe I am no longer concerned with time; I just want time to stand still.
I wanted time to stand still when I was preparing for graduation from both high school and college. The subsequent steps on life’s path took time to become more apparent.
I wanted to seize time and hold onto the moment Jon and I first met, not to mention that time we entered the Sacrament of Marriage. I knew our lives would forever be woven together over time.
I wanted time to stand still when we whisked across the states and then to another country for a two-week honeymoon as we celebrated our new life and a new year together. I didn’t want to return to the reality and restriction of time.
Time, please stand still. How has it been 25 years since that first dance?
I wanted it to stand still when each of my babies was born, began sleeping through the night, took their first steps, uttered their first words, and fast forward to the moment in time when they started to discover what makes themselves tick.
I definitely wanted time to stand when we took the kids on that first long road trip or that one where unexpected joyful memories were made riding horseback through the hills and streams of the Shenandoah Mountains or as we switchbacked through East Tennessee or while Zip-lining through the trees in Virginia Beach or as we stood atop a mountain where North met South Carolina, or where we marked moments where the sand met the sea in North Myrtle Beach, St Augustine, Marco Island and our treasured City by the Ocean.
I want to hold onto that time from that perfectly magical Christmas morning when every twinkling light, wreath on the window, and every gift was just right. Equally, I want to remember those times that were less than magical—we still found the joy and traditions of Christmas to be redeemed as we filled our house with love and laughter when we welcomed in and served others—our favorite thing about the season.
If only time could stand still.
Time, please stand still.
These days, I want time to stand still in ways I can’t begin to articulate.
I also want time to pass quickly so I can reach a particular moment in time. I want another Christmas, Anniversary, or another memory or ten of the waves washing over our feet, sinking in the sand as slow as the sands of time drop into an hourglass.
Yet, I want time to pass quickly to have a chance to meet certain milestones with Jon’s hand in mine.
Most importantly, I want to treasure our time without regret.
For the most part, we have done our best to cherish our time.
It wasn’t by design those hands of time were lost. We just live the best we can without counting down time.
No matter how many clocks we have without hands (or batteries) ticking off time, there is always another clock that accurately measures time.
We can’t make time stand still.
We simply cannot control time.
But we can control how we use our time.
We can use our time by living in the holy present moment. I think that is a pretty good use of our time.
May we be gentle with our time
How do we best use our time?
How we treat people in the time we have.
We can choose to love well, to make a holy effort to not hurt others with our words and actions— to spend time healing, not hurting.
We can make the best use of time by working to redeem and reconcile our mistakes and lovingly sharing when we’ve been hurt.
We can take steps—sometimes uncomfortable ones—when we say sorry or ask for forgiveness.
May we not wait; we may run out of time.
We can use our time listening more than speaking, or by not always having to have the last word or bending others to see our way. It’s okay to not agree with everyone. It isn’t okay to hurt others to have our opinion heard and understood.
Taking the time to PAUSE before we speak, insert our thoughts, or attempt to use our voice to make another person’s situation “right” can protect/guard each other’s time. It isn’t our job to fix other people’s lives.
Respecting the boundaries of others and honoring their privacy and time is an act of charity—aka love—that often gets overlooked.
The last several years have genuinely put a strain on our time. I know we are not alone in this. The world has been twisted by harsh “pandemical” times. We have all lost far too much in a short amount of time.
How is it possible it has been over 1000 days since the quarantine and pandemic times robbed us of unrecoverable time—loss of loved ones, relationships, trust in others, freedom, truth, safety, health, security, the list goes on.
It will take a long time to regain only a fraction of what was lost. We know there are things, including the presence of beloved people, we will never get back.
Certainly not in this Earthly time. Maybe in God’s time. Definitely in eternity.
Thinking back to the day I saw the wall of clocks, It is not lost on me what seeing it meant to me as my family stares time in the face in a very different way than ever before.
I am not making a big statement or prophesy about time and our limits, but I am merely stating that a diagnosis sure can increase the value we place on time.
Now more than ever, I wish all clocks could lose their hands or that time would stand still.
Concerning our state of affairs, I’ve said it before, no doctor has ever puts a value or limit on time for us when it comes to Jon’s diagnosis. And if they did, we would take it with a grain of salt and not focus on the sand of time. We know only God has the power to truly measure time.
Time is not guaranteed for us—not time here on Earth, anyway. An eternity awaits those who believe.
So how do we use our time?
“Therefore whilst we have time, let us work good to all men.” Gal 6:10
How do we treat people—those we love, sometimes hurt, want to fix, or those strangers on the street we meet when we feel most rushed.
How do we depict ourselves at any given moment in time?
How do we give and receive love? Are we open to receiving love?
How do we show kindness and compassion and offer grace and mercy, especially when we encounter someone who faces time limits due to a diagnosis, grieving a loss, or confronting some life-altering uncertainty?
We can’t take back words.
We can’t undo choices that cause damage, especially in relationships and often over the most minor things.
We can’t change the things that cause regret.
We can’t bottle time or get time back.
We can treasure our time.
We can be tender, thoughtful, compassionate, respectful, and loving in our time.
We can desire to reconcile or repair, BUT we need to remember timing IS everything. Usually, God’s timing is best. Humans want to manage everything rather than give our time to God. God’s loving, merciful way is the best antidote for that.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecc 3:11
We can just be gentle and mindful and think less of ourselves and more of the others in our time.
We can seek forgiveness; we can offer it too. Notice I didn’t say just to simply forgive, because forgiveness can take a lifetime. Forgiveness is more than just a word. This is why we must guard how we use our time and act as charitably as possible so nothing is left to wonder or unsaid.
We can invite God into our time and use our time to pray more.
We can be humble.
We can be meek.
We can be gentle with ourselves, others, and our time.
May we treasure time.
May we be gentle with our time and in our time.
May we remember God makes all things beautiful in His time.
“Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow has not yet come, We only have today. Let us Begin.” Mother Teresa.
As with almost everything I write and share, I wait for the right moment, a nudge from God, to share the words He lays on my heart. I have been sitting on most of this reflection for weeks upon weeks. After flipping through the pages of the last days of the year of the Divine Intimacy Devotional a few days ago, it was clear it was time to share this post today.
The title of the entry for December 31 just so happens to be:
“LET US MAKE GOOD USE OF TIME” December Thirty-First
“PRESENCE OF GOD – On the last day of the year, I recollect myself in the presence of the Child Jesus, to examine in the light of eternity the value of time.”- Divine Intimacy, p. 100.
We had another MRI in December. Like much of this journey, our time has been measured more in patience, waiting, and trust. While the appointment and the results were more positive than others, we don’t have any big answers.
We are not looking at a shrinking tumor, nor are we looking at shrinking time either.
Given Jon’s recent treatment, the findings are as expected; we’ll hang onto the doctor’s positive attitude for this moment in time. Jon’s attitude remains positive and full laughter as always too. He’s a bit more tired, but who isn’t—it has been a busy season with birthdays for our two girls, the birth of a newborn king and our 25th Anniversary and finally having Jen from Sisterhood of the Traveling Relics and her family here for a visit.
Our goal and prayer request for our next MRI is for everything to remain stable and for us to continue to have courage, strength, and sleep.
We continue on, One Day at a Time.
All things considered, we have already seen many miracles, and many prayers HAVE BEEN answered. I can’t help but remember kneeling in the pew next to Jon on December 31, 2020, after a long day in the city and an MRI that showed changes for the first time after months of waging war against a new diagnosis and healing from the surgery. We learned progression was likely on the horizon.
So we ran to the altar and begged God to show us his face and where He was in all the uncertainty.
That was two years ago. Prayers have been answered.
We asked God to continue to show us His face in many moments over the last year as we learned to lean on Him when we had little strength to stand on our own or find the words to pray or as we wondered how we would get through this time. He always provides.
So we will ask for God, the keeper of time to continue to be gentle, and we will continue to trust the time we are given with faith, hope, and love.
May your New Year be filled with gentle, blessed, loving, treasured, and hopeful moments in time.
Time, please be gentle.
“Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill His divine plan for our soul; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted, continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in the degree of love which we have reached now, in time. If we have attained a high degree of love, we shall be fixed forever in that degree of love and glory; if we possess only a slight degree, that is all we shall have throughout eternity. No further progress will be possible when time has ended.”—Divine Intimacy, p. 100