Recently I came across something that outspoken American nun Joan Chittister wrote and I thought it was interesting. She wrote of her father who died at 25 and left behind nothing for her to have except his prayer book and one prayer card.
As a child Joan frequently read this card but over the years, whilst it has been lost, she remembers parts of yet. It read, “I have only just a minute, only 60 seconds in it. Given to me, didn’t choose it. Mustn’t waste it, can’t refuse it. But I must suffer if I lose it.” Its basic message got through to her and has haunted her all her life. The mantra she learned is time.
I suspect we are obsessed with time. Being a pragmatic and productive people time almost becomes our national God. Think for a moment how time shows itself in our language. Who else speaks of time as we do – we spend time, invest time, need time, lose time, save time, find time, buy time, waste time, gain time, want time – and in the end, time, not life, threatens to absorb us.
We value time as an opportunity for doing something, producing things, achieving goals and fail to realise that life is really about becoming a person of merit and worth.
So, what’s interesting about Joan’s reflection as we approach the busy end of this term?
Might it be useful to take a moment each day to give serious thought to who we are becoming rather than to what we are doing as time goes by?
Time is a kind teacher. Should you be tempted to make time your God, remember the person who, when asked to define time, said we need to remember: “Time,” he wrote on the footpath, “is what keeps everything from happening all at one time.”
– Rev Dr John Frauenfelder