Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redeeming the Time

   For many of my adult years, one of my favorite little catch phrases was "Carpe Diem," you know, Seize the Day. Original, no? What can I say? I was rapt by Good Will Hunting.

   Then this mantra refined itself a bit when my girls left home. First my beautiful eldest in 2008, then my sweet baby two years later, they left a very contemplative empty nest behind as well as many hours, weeks, and months that needed purpose. While this nest emptying is a universal experience, our circumstances are a bit unusual. The girls left home many years ahead of schedule and not in a happy or easily understandable way.

   During that tough chapter I dove passionately, desperately into prayer and Bible study, seeking not only comfort but also answers, solutions, and direction. What I discovered was a far more powerful approach to Carpe Diem... a scriptural instruction to Redeem the Time.

Redeem the Time.
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools,
but as wise, redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:15-16

   This message was a rich balm to me in those first months, each time one of the girls left. It helped me see that bright glimmers of purpose and meaning could absolutely be hidden in all of that darkness.

   Gradually, as I prayed and ached, cried and panicked, screamed and threw things in the barn, this message to Redeem the Time began to crystallize and solidify. It cropped up in everything I read. I dreamed it. It echoed in my head while I worked. Other people delivered the words to me, each probably thinking he or she was the sole harbinger.

   Redeem the time.

   That it was specifically for me I had no doubt. When it didn't infuriate me (redeem THIS time?! What good can possibly come from this??) it was a great comfort. (There's something available to you here.Your life is still worthwhile.)

   Your life is DEFINITELY still worthwhile, no matter what.

   Redeeming anything implies that for what you give, you receive something.

   Redeem the time. Your time will get spent whether you like it or not. It's how you spend it that determines what you'll receive in exchange.

   The truth behind this is that everything in life is really just for a season. For better or worse, nothing lasts forever. We are given unique sets of circumstances, unique blessings, and unique challenges, over and over again. Our lives ares seasonal, and rather than resist that and kick against that, we should embrace it, accept the inherent blessings and face the natural losses.

   Celebrate the dazzling grace.

   Redeem the time.

   This message continues to hover around my heart now, informing my patchwork days and helping me structure my goals.

   Now that we have rediscovered our life rhythms, following routines and pursuing happiness in so many fresh ways while still fighting to keep family ties at least in view, always ready for tying them up, what was once a forced effort for survival is now a habit. My various energies are streaked with the momentum to see the uniqueness of each and every day and act on that. I am trained to capitalize on how things are right now and how they might never be again. Under this wisdom, not only is each day a gift; each change of plans is a gift too. Each season is certainly a gift, for we may only live it once.

"You can never step into the same river;
for new waters are always flowing on to you."
~Heraclitus of Ephesus*
*interesting to note that this quote, from about 600 years before the Bible verse above was first spoken, 
came from a philosopher in about the same part of the world.
It's a total coincidence that I thought of these lines in tandem, Had no idea, but that's cool.

   Redeem the time.

   How will I make good use of this time? Of this empty house? Of all of my throbbing maternal energy and ideas?

   How can I redeem my talents and resources in this life?

   What chapter are you in? How can you make good use of it? What is so truly unique about those circumstances that you might never step in your river again? What do you not want to miss out on while you're here? Or how can you use this chapter to prepare for the next one?

   Redeem the time.

   You know what? Making this adjustment in my heart has helped me bear the fruit of more laughter and fewer tears. More friends and less loneliness. Much more meaningful versions of everything I endeavor to do, however simple. When it comes to my girls, "Redeem the Time"  means that our time together, however brief compared to my heart's longings, is rich with affection, experience, memory making and joy! Far less often is stress or regret a part of the picture. I'll take it.

   Redeem the time.

   All of this is the heavy stuff, the foundation. But Redeem the Time is also a touchstone for daily activities. I remember this premise when the weather changes and I suddenly scrap my indoor tasks to be outside. Who doesn't grab a chance to play in the dirt? I also remember it if my husband is out of town for a few days; this is a great time to do deep cleaning or some of "those" projects that require things looking worse before they look better. I'm lucky to not be tethered to any job other than my own beautiful home and our animals, so I can respond to shifting needs over and over again. I love it!

   Redeem the time.

   What is your day worth? Not just in monetary terms, although we cannot ignore that. But what would you like to see showing for your effort and passion at the end of the day?

   I hope this wasn't too rambling. It's been a challenging week here at the farm, but I so appreciate Edie's invitation to write about time management. The lessons I have learned these past few years have been paying off in dividends, especially these past few months. Truly. It's like everything is clicking. Worrying less about lists and more about fulfillment has really opened up my heart. I hope the idea of redeeming your time is useful to you; and I hope that you find ways to trade your time and energy for more and more valuable treasures every day.

Redeem your Time.

"Experience is a cruel teacher.
It gives the test first and then the lesson."



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...