We perceive ourselves so pressed for time, counting the minutes before work ends, or the number of years left to retirement. Do you hope that time goes by quickly because you’re sick of doing diapers? Are you pissed because something inconvenienced you and is disrupting your creative energy?
This is my TIME story. It was January of last year, my daughter was at a sleepover and needed to be picked up at a prearranged time later in the day. I started a special project with my gloriously uninterrupted free time and had mapped it well enough to complete the project before pick up. An unplanned – and rather steep – learning curve delayed my plans, resulting in a two-hour time management mess. As a result, the project was set aside in order to fetch my daughter on time. I was almost at the pick up spot when she called to say that they didn’t make the movie on time, weren’t back yet, and that she’d get her mom to do the pick up run later.
Great. Just great. I was pissed for a moment, wishing that call had come through just five minutes earlier because damn it, I had things to do. I decided to redirect my time and visit my father at his retirement residence; the plan had been to see him the next day but now I’d be able to make it for dinner. Arriving at his room I helped Dad get dressed, we walked to the dining room and, being the first ones there, he ordered his food immediately. As the room slowly filled with other residents, we sat back and had a fragmented conversation about bowel movements, my children, the business and the weather. The others were served their food before Dad was served his, and it was so obviously out of order that my impatience with the staff was matching dad’s. I had things to do, you know. I had squandered time on a fruitless drive to pick up my daughter, and was now further delayed by these kitchen hacks who were clearly not competent enough to prepare food in the proper sequence.
After more people were served ahead of Dad, I realized there was nothing I could do about it. I dropped the self-righteous, self-defeating language in my head, and moved around the table to sit right next to my dad, talking knee to knee, and heart to heart about ‘stuff’ relating to life. It was intimate and loving. Dinner finally arrived and I stayed 10 more minutes, then kissed Dad on the head, told him that I loved him and that I had to leave. He acknowledged those words with a wave of his fork and I left.
An hour later, he was found unconscious in his room and died the next morning.
With the benefit of hindsight, I see that I was blessed that day. My daughter had provided me the opportunity and time to visit my dad. The kitchen staff ensured that I had 45 bonus Dad-minutes. God in his wisdom and knowing made time for me to see, feel, touch, help, love and talk with my father for the last time. Ego and anger could have overridden those precious moments and clouded my head and heart, leaving me in regret of my thoughts and actions during our time together; instead, LOVE found its way in and directed my time. For those nuisances, the delays and interruptions, and the extra time and love that God provided for that moment, I am so deeply grateful.
Time changes perceptions. Our perceptions can change time. Experience the emotions but master them. Find the precious time in love and for love… no matter what.