Sunday grace

The alarm shouts at my sleepy head, and I press the snooze button too much.

Last night I grumbled as I set clocks forward, wondering why we keep doing this. The saving of time made me lose time this morning. My body feels it. And what wakes the birds in my little woods and the chickens in my neighbor’s yard? Is it not the sun, God’s rhythm-keeper, placed there in the sky for us day after day?

So why do we keep messing with the clocks?


Time. Less a friend, it often seems our enemy, fleeting, running out, rushing ahead, adding years to our lives and age to our bodies. Yet time is a gift, given first to Adam and Eve, the evening and the morning, twenty-four hours that precede and proceed, without ceasing.

Last week time seemed limited with projects looming heavy on my mind. Things transferred from February now wait on the March list of “to get done.” Next week appears much the same. I only hope for small blocks of an hour now and then to move forward, making steps toward completing what I think is important.

But is it? Maybe I am the only one who cares, giving this undertaking importance and weight, perhaps more than it deserves.

Instead of my projects, I chose people last week. Saying “yes” to a spur of the moment lunch invitation. Driving Sweet William to his appointment. Inviting young sisters for brunch and some crafting. Attending a gathering for friends who needed comfort.  Visiting a loved one dealing with uncertainty and fearful outcomes.

Recording days in my journal, I view ink on paper and clarity comes. Last week I chose what is better.

There were days when I did not make such good choices. I relived one this week as I listened to those old audio cassettes on the player in our living room, still trying to pick what to keep and what I can toss.

Randomly in the middle of one cassette, I heard my son’s little boy voice. It was high-pitched and small. I saw the scene in my head, forty years ago, him sitting on the floor in our apartment listening to a vinyl record of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He had a book in his hand that followed the story being told in word and song on the record player, and a bell sounded when it was time to turn the page. “Mommy is it time to turn the page?” I heard him say.

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The first side ended and the record needed to be flipped and restarted to finish the book. And I heard my boy, “Mommy, it’s time to turn it over.” Silence and waiting. “Mommy come,” he said with more urgency, though it was only a few seconds.

What I was doing in that small two-bedroom home that made me keep him waiting? Whatever it was could not have been more meaningful than the child who wanted my attention.

While the memory was sweet, the pang of regret hangs over me even this morning. I suppose all mothers wonder if we were good enough. What kind of mother was I to that precious boy of mine? Did I give him what he needed, was I attentive, did I listen to his little boy requests, or did I put projects first too many times?

I’m not sure. You’d have to ask him. I only know I want the rest of my life to be people oriented and not ruled by lists and tasks.

People over projects.  Making the right choice this time, every time. Because time is a gift from God, and how I spend it is of the utmost importance.

Sunday grace.

A day in the life

100_3175Since December 21, the day’s are getting longer.  Well, actually a day is still 24 hours, but the daylight is lasting longer.

I am entering my second year of partial retirement.  As I look longingly for the season of spring I realized I am in the autumn of my years. Both of my parents have died.  People in my Sunday school class are grandparents and great-grandparents.  Friends my age have severe health issues.

And I know my days are numbered.

When I was younger I read a lot about time management.  I collected articles and went to seminars to learn how to plan my day and work my plan.  I wanted to use my time as wisely as possible which essentially meant getting as much done as possible.  And I had a lot to do.

Looking back I am not so sure all that management information helped me become a better person.  I may have accomplished tasks, but did I impact lives?  Did I invest in people, in eternal things?

What am I doing with the rest of this life of mine? I question how I spend my time as I watch the clock ticking away.  Sunrise.  Sunset.

Each new day is mine to choose how I will use it.  I can waste it on worry, anger, impatience, fighting silly battles that have no eternal value.  Or I can use it for good, speak encouraging words, stand for what’s right, look for the gifts of God and be thankful.  I can practice joy today or I can just coast along with whatever emotions invade me.  I can learn to be content.

That takes practice.  That’s what I tell my piano students to do.  Practice, practice, practice.  It. Is.The. Only. Way.To. Get. Better.  At anything.

What I do today is important. Time is a gift and it is valuable.  I need to keep practicing using it to the best of my ability.  That does not necessarily mean completing set number of tasks and checking them off my list.

I pray with the Psalmist:  Teach me, Lord, to number my days so that I can get a heart of wisdom.

And I take Paul’s words to heart:

So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.

The days can be difficult.  They can pull me away from my purpose.  They can side track me if I am not carefully looking at this day and praying to be wise in how I choose to use it.

Life is a gift, every single day of it.  I will give account for what I did with my days.  I don’t want to regret the price I paid for this day.