Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."
How do we use it? Misuse it? Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have? It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment. But how will we spend it? And what values shape how we use it? As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
When I’m busy, exercise is the first thing to go. I say, “I don’t have time!” The truth is, I have time, I just don’t make time for exercise. I choose to spend my time doing other things.
I’ve also been known to say, “I don’t run.”
So when my son signed up for the 100 Mile Club at school, guess whom he invited to run with him from 7:10 – 7:30 a.m.? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to say “No” to a happy, energetic, and front-toothless 6 year old, but it’s hard. “I don’t have time!” wasn’t an option.
It doesn’t work for me to go every morning, but I’m averaging about three days a week with him. That means I’ve run about 16 of the 25 miles he has logged so far. Not bad for someone who “doesn’t run.”
Five laps around the softball field equals one mile. We always do at least four. Our record is six. It’s The Tortoise and the Hare come to life. I encourage my son to jog, “Slow and steady wins the race.” He prefers interval training: sprint, walk, sprint, walk. I try to keep up.
What I’ve learned, lap after lap, is that even little bits of time count. Just like the laps, the time adds up. Those twenty minutes, many of which I spend watching my son fly away, are building our mother-son bond. Because one day he will fly away. One day (soon, I fear) he won’t ask me to run with him. He won’t want me there, chatting with his friends, chasing and coaxing. He’ll choose to spend his time differently.
And then, in hindsight, I’ll see so much more clearly, the gift of little bits of time. I don’t want to only see in hindsight. For this motherhood journey, for all of life, I want to see what I should see, now.
God doesn’t promise us huge chunks of time in the future to do everything we dutifully intend to do . . . at some point. He gives us each moment. Moment by moment – that is the gift.
I get busy, and I take much of it for granted. I count on the future, and I neglect to say, “Thank you, Lord,” for the present. I discount the little bits, but not as much as I used to, since I started running.
So, thank you, Lord, for the little bits. Thank you for showing me that I really do “have time,” and help me to use it wisely.
Courtney lives in South Carolina with her husband and two sons. She blogs at A Work in Progress, where she writes about faith, motherhood, working, wine-making, books, and whatever else comes to mind.