Swiftly flow the days

Jeff doesn’t like jewelry. Not any kind of jewelry. Including watches.

The night that he took me home to meet his parents for the first time, we were to be there for dessert, after dinner…around 8-ish. On the way there, he blew a tire. In the middle of no where. Just after it had rained. In the dark. Before cell phones.

His first efforts revealed that his lug nuts were rusted on. After many attempts, he finally took the tire iron and jumped on it to get them off. It worked. They came off. The tire however didn’t want to comply. Since the tire was requiring some additional “encouragement” (read: kicking, pulling, wrestling, etc) he handed me the lug nuts to hold.

Since it had just rained, and it was early spring, it was a tad chilly. I was a bean pole with no body heat to speak of, so I was cold. I began jumping around to keep warm. I skipped from one place to another. I danced in the road. (Wishing that someone would come along and help us.) I twirled, I bounced, I waded into the weeds to check on Jeff’s efforts. I was ADHD personified.

After what seemed like hours, Jeff stuck his hand out for the lug nuts, hidden in my pocket. I reached in and found two things. One lug nut and one hole. Okay, THIS was a problem. Jeff said, “Honey, just retrace where you were standing and we’ll find them. It’s no problem.” (Reference above paragraph.)

I finally ended up on my hands and knees…crying…searching in the road, in the dirt, in the weeds trying to find the lug nuts. We found four out of five. Good enough. We put the tire back on the car and drove to his parents house.

Oddly, the lights were out when we pulled in – just the dim light of the television remained. “Jeff, what time is it, do you think?” “Oh, it’s probably 10 or so.” “Maybe I should meet your parents another time. That’s awfully late.” “It’s no problem. My folks stay up late every night.” (And it was a Friday night)

So, I got to meet Jeff’s parents for the first time, with muddy tear marks all over my face, with dirt and slime on my pants and hands, my hair full of little pieces of the weeds I’d been crawling through….at 1:30 am.

Isn’t it funny how time passes? I would NEVER have guessed we’d been out there that long. (Can you believe he still doesn’t wear a watch. He does however carry a cell phone with the time on it.) 😆

There are times in my life that it seems like time will never end. Truly boring sermons. (Please don’t tell me that sermons are only boring if I’m not trying to glean from them. I am not talking about unskilled men, I mean men who have no passion nor love for the Word of God. They are delivering a dead message – and where there is no life, there is a boring sermon. Sorry. My .02 worth.) Parts of labor seemed interminable. Dental work. Waiting in my room when my Mom said, “Wait here until I calm down. If I spank you now I will really hurt you.” (GULP) Taking Jeff out to dinner, when everyone was gathering at our house for his surprise party. Waiting through my Mom’s surgery when they were going in to see if they could save her life. Even though I know time doesn’t change speed – for those times, it seems like it would never end.

In other situations, it just seems as though time passes by with a speed not matched by anything else on Earth. The aging of my children. (HOW?!) Date night. My morning quiet time with the Lord. The time from the final drip of the coffee pot until its empty. 🙂 Football games. (I know, I know – this too is up for argument. 🙂 For ME, football time goes SUPER fast. I have a friend who thinks that one “football minute” equals 20 real life minutes.)

As we approach the holidays, time is the one thing that we can not ever begin to replace. We can’t take back the time we spent fussing and fretting about the things that weren’t perfect. We can’t take back the time that we spent sweeping for the 6th time, rather than sitting with our Littles. We can’t take back the time we spent shopping for just the “perfect” gift, when the recipient is just aching for time with us.

Every year, someone reminds us to budget our money, so that we do not over extend our finances. Greater wealth is found in our time – so why isn’t any one challenging us to budget our time, so that we don’t over extend it? Relationships are what seem to take the biggest hit when we overextend our time budgets. Are we mindful of that when making holiday plans?

My challenge, not only to keep our focus, to manage our assumptions/expectations, to communicate wisely and carefully, is to be mindful of the usage of our time. Take the effort to stop and consider what is important for you to be involved in and what is not.

I know for me, there are many things that I participate in, because I feel like I have to, because I feel like people expect me to, because I guilt myself into doing it, because that’s just what we do at the holidays. Not one of those are good reasons. And you know what else? Neither is “Because that’s what is important to my kids.” Not that we don’t want to make the holidays a precious time for them, one fraught with meaning and memories – but rather, because doing things to please our children should not be our standard. (Did I really say that? Man, all these argumentative statements today – am I just in a mood to fight or what?!) 😉

I’m serious my friends, I have gotten sucker punched many a time, thinking that the standard for our holiday is to do something that my children delight in. It’s the holiday for children, for crying out loud!!! 🙂 I am learning (at 45….finally) that the standard for our holiday is what pleases my Lord. The reality is, it’s likely that much of what we do to please our children WILL please our Lord, but if there is any doubt – well, you know whose opinion matters. (gentle smile)

So, how are you doing at preparing for the holidays? Have you made your list and checked it twice? 😉 Have you checked to see where your expectations might cause stress in your days? What about your focus? How is that doing? Have you prayerfully sought Father about areas where you may be weak at communicating? After all, it IS Him that we desire to please, huh?

(And guess what? I’m almost done! Then I will start nagging you about something different.) 😉

Edit: As I was finishing this, thinking about how quickly our children are growing and how the passage of time always gets by me. Our “baby” (yes, 23 mo old) just came up and asked Jeff if he would take her for a drive. “A drive? Where is it that you want to go?” Burt: “Shopping.” Sigh….isn’t she supposed to be at least 6 before she starts asking to go shopping?!!!

One quick reality check – After writing this, I was working on some projects for our business and it really hit me that every time choice I make is a statement about our priorities.  That could really hurt, if I’m making really bad choices.  (Which we all do, at some point, of course)  That’s the kind of intentionality we all need to apply to our holiday plans – choosing to make choices that rightly reflect our priorities.  It’s more needful at this time of year than any other, simply because it’s easier to be too busy at this time of the year than at any other.  😕

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