“Most of us sense something else about time: it is a resource. Moreover, it is a unique resource. It cannot be accumulated like money or stockpiled like raw materials. We are forced to spend it, whether we choose to or not, and at a fixed rate of 60 seconds every minute. It cannot be turned on and off like a machine or replaced like a man. It is irretrievable.” —R. Alec Mackenzie, The Time Trap
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin
I left the states close to five years ago. I uprooted my life and left my family and friends to live in Uganda. Suddenly, everyday relationships I had taken for granted for years were priceless to me. Those days of hanging out with my friends and letting our kids play together had seemed so normal, almost mundane. And now without seeing these friends daily, those memories of our times together became so valuable.
“Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
I got an email a few weeks ago telling me that a friend and co-worker of mine in Uganda had just lost her ten-year-old daughter. I was shocked. This was a vibrant, beautiful girl I had just seen on the last day of school, May 31, and now she is dead. As I worked through stages of disbelief and shock and compassion for the family, I realized time is so valuable.
“Time is the most valuable thing that a man can spend.” ― Diogenes Laertius
Sometimes I hate being so far away from everyone. I hate seeing my babies become children and young adults. I hate watching my parents grow older. I hate missing out on birthdays and major life events. I hate hearing people I love have died. I can really get depressed thinking about all the TIME that has passed. “Each day is a gift.” We hear that all the time. How true it becomes when we watch a friend lose a child or a grandfather dies or the little girl you saw two years ago is now almost a woman. What we wouldn’t give just to go back and have more time with our kids when they were babies, or sit and listen to the wisdom of a now-dead grandparent or hug more and laugh with our friends. If I don’t bring it all back to what God has taught us in His word, then it all becomes meaningless and void.
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah.” Psalm 39:4-5
My days are completely in God’s hands. He has determined how long I live, where I live, who I spend my days with, and how I spend the time He has given. When I consider the sheer GRACE involved in each day that I wake up alive, I am humbled. I want to learn to hold time with an open hand, with eternity in view. I don’t want to mourn the passing years but be thankful for each moment. I want to entrust my relationships to a faithful God who keeps hearts close to each other even over many miles. I want to feel the weight of the gift of time as a precious burden that I am privileged to carry.
“Time is what we want most,but what we use worst.” ― William Penn
I am headed back to Uganda for an undetermined amount of time in about three weeks. I want to return there with a grateful heart and a renewed mindset on how to use the time I have been given with my children, my friends, my church, and my family. I want to stop fearing the passing time and to look forward to whatever is next, enjoying where I am and who I am with for however long I am given and trusting that God has had it all figured out from the beginning of time.
“Time doesn’t take away from friendship, nor does separation.” ― Tennessee Williams, Memoirs
*Image c/o cozgrl05 via stock.xchng