Do You Have The Time?
Stop Time. Standard Time. Leisure Time. Work Time. Make Time. Prayer Time. Quality Time. I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the clocks in the world suddenly stopped!
Our lives are so controlled and possessed by the need to know “what time it is” that the clock, this man-made measurement, enslaves us so that we can’t function unless we know how much time we have to do something. We are always meeting “deadlines”. Even our words “deadline” has a negative, stressed-filled connotation.
Whenever I hear the word “quality time” a little knot forms inside of me. Is there such a thing as booking a space into my already busy life for quality time? Does this mean that the rest of the time I spend with family, friends, co-workers and in prayer, is less than quality time? Last weekend was one of those warm sunny days when one hates to be inside. Mark, who was then an eleven year old, was outside helping his father in the garden. I was sitting on the back porch that night, peeling potatoes for supper and watching them as they worked side by side, alone, yet together. Dale would turn over a piece of sod, then call Mark over to see the “treasure” he had found. For at least 10 minutes they sat on the ground examining the fresh earth and all its hidden mysteries.
As I watched, the phrase “quality time” came to mind. Unlike the modern version of “quality time”, this special time was unplanned and unstructured. It was taking the moment and making the most of it! How often do we do this with God? We tell God when we will pray to Him and when we will be available to listen. It is certainly good to have a special time set aside - a special time to sit and give one’s full attention and be with God - but what happens to the rest of the day? Just like the unplanned discussion on worms, bugs and soil, spontaneously taking place between Mark and his father, we are called to be alert - to listen - to hear God speak in the everyday events of our life.
Every minute, every second, we are alive is quality time. Life is the most precious gift of time that we have. We are not only called to see God in all creation, but also to learn how to deepen our relationship with God and each other. To see God’s loving presence in all of life’s situations - what better quality time can there be?