Time: The Other Commodity (Sunday Thoughts #12)

ACTS 4:32-35

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 

My thoughts on money a few weeks ago sent me directly to these verses in Acts post-haste. If I could learn to live like this, sharing and caring and LETTING GO then life would feel a little lighter, a little sunnier. But communes went by the wayside in the 70s and communism is not my political flavor of choice. So…how do you live with hands wide open with your whole life?

Tithing is good. Tithing is necessary for our minds to open up to what is a gift to us and for us to give. Donating to Goodwill, to charities, all good things. These I can do. But you know the hardest thing for me to give? Time. Oh, I want it to be mine all mine to parcel out as I see fit. In Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (the most famous introvert I know), writes: “Nothing throws [the Christian] into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.”

True story: when I was in high school a couple friends came knocking at my back door. You see, I had a door to my room that opened onto a deck that led to freedom. My parents trusted me much more than I plan to trust my own children. I did not use that door enough. That’s a clear metaphor for my teenage years…closed doors. So these friends came knocking and invited me to play night baseball with a group from school. My answer: I had to study…Latin. I valued my time and my choices more than theirs. I won’t get that night back or my youth or those friends who live thousands of miles away. And Latin is a dead language.

Here’s where you’re waiting for me to say that I’ve learned my lesson. I suppose I have in some ways. I love and need my friends and my husband and my children. My life is more circus that solo act these days. Which is why those two precious days when all three kids are in school are golden. I catch myself wishing into Wednesday on Wednesday eve when the bedtime ritual is tortuously drawn out and littered with tears and the hysterical laughter of the exhausted child. In the morning after drop off, I’m the weird speed walker racing to her car. I barely slow for the other moms, even if they are friends, especially if their mouths are opening with what looks like the beginning of more than “hello.” These are my days to write and do laundry and SIT DOWN. I hunker in my bunker like a rabbit in its den. These hours are the hours I snatch to “come back to myself.

And yet, God wants me to find myself in him and with the other humans he puts in my path. They are not objects to be avoided, video-game ninja style. They are to be aimed for not away from. Honestly, the tighter I hold those two days, the less enjoyable they are. They start to feel like payment in a job I’m only doing for the money. Not worth the effort. And the ironic part…I miss my kids. I crave my quiet time and then I miss them. They are little sorcerers. They’ve cast their spell.

Now we all need our time to re-set. We, especially us introverts, need those precious moments to meet our minds and settle into our thoughts without any effort to speak them. We are bread rising and we need a warm still place to rest. But I’m going to try to live a bit more as the disciples who “shared everything they had,” including time. I’m going to slow down and talk to those mothers. I’m going to make lunch dates and coffee dates. I’m going to let the laundry pile up. I’m going to at least try to open that back door.

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