As I was getting my decorations out this Christmas season, I thought to myself, “Didn’t we just do this?” And now it’s already over again. The decorations are put away, and soon I’ll be dragging them right back out again.
The years whoosh by so fast and we’re all racing to keep up. Time is, by far, our most deficient resource.
I was recently asked to fill out a questionnaire that asked, “What do you like to do in your spare time?”
As a frazzled, guilt-ridden, working mommy, that question tramples carelessly on very tender territory.
Spare time??? Who on earth has any of that??
I brooded over that question. If I had given a complete and honest answer, it would have sounded something like this:
If I HAD spare time…
I’d spend it with my husband and children. We’d do fun things together as a family, and I’d immerse myself in each of them individually. When they talked I’d give them my full attention, maintaining eye contact and listening attentively instead of flitting around in a stress-induced state of multi-task mania. I’d study them, noticing and admiring the expressions, quirks and nuances that make them each so unique and wonderful. I’d plan sweet surprises for my husband, and do thoughtful things “just because.” I’d pour myself into my kids: teaching, nurturing, guiding them to the best of my ability and I’d savor every moment of it. I’d smother them all with love and affection to the point of annoyance, knowing they’d secretly miss it if I ever stopped.
I’d give myself to others as well. I’d volunteer for charities and serve in ministries. I’d babysit for the people I usually turn down. I’d help my parents. I’d do a favor for a friend. I’d be a shoulder to cry on. I’d lend a helping hand. Just imagine being able to say “yes” once in a while.
I’d do things for myself too. I’d take frivolous classes in things like cake decorating and chalk painting. I’d play the piano. I’d try something cool on Pinterest. I’d have coffee with a friend. I’d eat healthier, and exercise more. I’d stay current on politics and world events. I’d attempt elaborate recipes. I’d have long, meaningful talks with my mother. I’d become fluent in sign language. I’d sit next to a pond and meditate on life’s important questions. I’d illustrate a children’s book. I’d direct a play. I’d have people over for dinner parties and game nights, and host bonfires in the backyard. I’d explore the deep things of God. I’d call my Dad. And I’d sit in a chair when I talked to him instead of propping the phone on my shoulder while loading the dishwasher. I’d read a thousand books. I’d have lunch with my sisters. I’d sleep. I’d sleep long and I’d sleep hard. I’d sleep until I got some clarity and a new perspective.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with sadness when I think of all the things I want so badly to do, but never have time for. Most days feel like little more than a bunch of chaotic, exhausting activity jammed between a cup of coffee and a glass of wine. I pour myself out in meaningless exertions, while internally pining for passions that are just out of reach. That makes for a pretty miserable existence.
But then I remind myself that I have an entire eternity ahead of me. I may not be able to accomplish much in this lifetime, but I’ll spend the rest of forever making up for it.
We’ve got it all wrong. We work ourselves to death, thinking we have a just few short decades at best to cram it all in before we die and then it’s over.
But it isn’t over; it’s just the beginning. It’s the starting point of forever, and that’s where the real adventure begins.
It’s like the Times Square ball drop: a countdown to an ending, culminating in joyous celebration of a glorious new beginning.
God didn’t create a magnificently entertaining earth that we only get to enjoy for a moment, and then a magnificently boring Heaven that we’re destined to float around in aimlessly forever.
This is just a taste of the big show. Earth gives us just a small glimpse of what God is capable of creation-wise, and entices us to consider how much more, not less, is on the other side.
We’ll do it all. We’ll party, we’ll eat, we’ll dance, we’ll learn, we’ll explore, we’ll build, we’ll experience, we’ll enjoy, we’ll discover, we’ll celebrate, we’ll rest and we’ll do it all over again. An eternity of wonder, adventure and excitement. And best of all, we’ll do it in the presence of God and in perfect communion with Jesus and with one another. Forever. and ever. and ever.
An eternity of time. Precious, endless, wonderful… time.
Thank God for that.