18. Gifts of Time

I was sitting on the porch swing this morning feeling wistful
for summer gone and time wasted.
But was summer gone really careless use of time?
Listening to bird song,
Drinking in the green of creation,
Reading, Writing,
Sipping iced tea,
Is all that a time waster?

Busy, busy, busy–we are all too busy. Humming around, making our lists, doing our lists, crossing off the lists, but what IS on the list? Does it matter if I didn’t get the bathroom floor sanded or the rest of the carpet taken up? There is so much to do here… I had a restful summer. It was lovely. I’m thankful to have the summer to enjoy, but the inner listmaker chides me for not getting more accomplished when I had the time off…

Time here at the cottage can be a gift or it can be a devourer–
and sometimes it can be both on the same day, in the same hour…
I’m trying to adjust my attitude on time wasted, time spent, time anxiously appraised, time flying by…
Indeed, I’m trying to try on the attitude of timelessness.

We found this bird clock this spring at a junk shoppe in Tennessee. Each bird sings the hours, so you don’t notice time flying by…

Mr. H.C. and I have differences in how we view time and how we spend time. I am a reader, a dreamer, a time waster,
but I usually know what time it is within a few minutes.
And I usually get where I am going on time,
on the dot,
not early nor late…
Mr. H.C. works hard, works a lot, and when he is done working for other people, he works at home–
car washing, invoice making, calling customers, arranging work for next week, dish washing, fixing broken things, doing house projects, car repair, lawn mowing–
when he is done for the day, he falls asleep after reading two paragraphs.
No wonder! He’s tired!
Mr. H.C. is vague about time:
he works until he’s done, no matter how long it takes.
He’s rarely on the dot…
sometimes he calls me at 7:30 to tell me he will be late for dinner…

It’s been a struggle for me (and undoubtedly for him) to live with a time opposite.

This week is our tenth anniversary. In the past, this was the week we would take our vacation, but for the past six years I have worked as a school librarian, and school always seems to start that next week. Not a good time for lazy vacations!

As I was musing over what little gift I could give my sweetie, I thought back over some others. I have gotten him an electronic organizer (for saving time); a digital camera (for capturing time); an iPhone (for saving more time when the electronic organizer was outdated); a Garmin (for saving time while driving); a lovely leather organizing set from Levenger’s (for organizing time as well as saving it); and some miscellaneous tools (time-savers for sure!) As I looked over this list (!) I felt convicted. Now this is not all I’ve gotten him; I’ve given him some nice shirts and two handsome sports jackets, but…

This year I got him a hammock — for wasting time. (Shhh….it’s still wrapped up in a pretty box with green ribbon under the bed.) I don’t know when he’ll be able to use it, but at least he’ll have it. He can put it up wherever he wants — after all we have a lotta big trees, (but I’m thinking under the catalpa would be perfect!)

What is on your list today? Crumple up that list and throw it in the recycling bin. Take a walk somewhere green, just sit on the porch, or watch a sunset. Waste some time. September will be here soon enough…

Books to read that encourage un-busy-ness:

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young; The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris; The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence; Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton; Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.

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