The funny thing about time is that we all think that we have plenty of it to spare. That “one day” we’ll get on to doing what we had planned. To making amends in that one situation, to finishing our goals or doing that thing that we feel hard pressed to accomplish. One day, we will try to make things right that have been wrong for so long. People die around us, friends come and they go and we still stand with the theory that time is plentiful… for us.
I had been really struggling with the concept of time. This thing that was created to reveal the seasons. The thing we use to tell us how many work hours there are in a day. This thing that divides our moments into structured increments to ultimately signal how successful we are, as the day passes. “Let’s see, I’ve gotten nine hours of sleep and I have to work ten hours and come home to spend a few hours cooking, cleaning, eating and portioning my time among family and friends.” At the end of the week we are exhausted, feeling as if the time we needed for just ourselves, has and will always come last or be put on the back burner for tomorrow. If it ever comes at all! If you have kids, then you understand this well because your time becomes dedicated to creating a decent human being that you can eventually send out into society, unscathed.
I worked in the corporate world for years and I could never find that healthy balance between time for work, kids and family. Work was how I paid the bills, bought school clothes and supplies for my child, put food on the table, paid for those doctors visits — So to me, work had to come first. Because we needed these things and someone had to adequately provide them. Now that I’ve been sick for a while and having to stay home, I feel more out of sync and out of time than ever! Now, I wait for my husband to come home to have regular adult conversation. Now, I am the one pressing for someone else’s time. Most of mine is spent taking care of our toddler and intermittently writing, when I can fit it in. And though being a stay-at-home Mom seems glamorous to the majority — As if we sit in pajamas all day eating chocolates and watching the Real Housewives of some place or another — That couldn’t be further from the truth. Now I’m not one of those people who braggingly says that this gig is the hardest job in the world. I think there are many more jobs out there that are much harder than being at home with my kids.
For instance, my boss is my toddler. I made her so at the end of the day, I love her. No matter how much she pressed my nerves or tried my patience, I still love her and get to go to bed at night knowing that I took care of someone that I love, today. I never loved my bosses and I would wager to say, that most people don’t. We don’t want to kiss them goodnight after reading them a story and hear the words, “I love you,” when the job is done for the day. I don’t hand my boss a project with loving eyes, like I would sitting down to feed my daughter the meal that I made for her because I care. The job I had to complete for my boss is not done from a place of love, rather than necessity and obligation. So for me, being a full-time Mom isn’t the hardest job because everything that I do is from a place of love, care and concern. In an effort to mold her into a self-sufficient, independent, kind and loving adult one day.
And yet even though I love her, I still feel that crunch for time being pushed and pulled every which direction, from me. My head hits the pillow completely exhausted each night, and if I didn’t manage to get anything for myself done in that day — Though my body is fatigued — My mind is awake all night with what I wasn’t able to complete because there just wasn’t enough time.
My husband’s alarm goes off before the sun comes up each morning, and he’s out of the door to work, and my day begins. A loud repetition of the day before, and somehow I am supposed to find the time that I couldn’t find yesterday to do all of the things I needed to do then, today.
Just before 4 AM this morning I awoke with thoughts that would not stop. All of the things that I wish were different, but can’t change on my own. All of the relationships broken that I just cannot mend. This year I lost my sister, the year before I lost my grandmother and now my mother is battling cancer, and I am sick as well. Most days I wake up tired, stressed out and in pain, but time is marching regardless of how I feel, so I better get busy using that time wisely. I was bothered by why I was waking up so early only to think about things that are so frustrating and out of my control.
I have looked over all of the matters unsettled in my soul and grieved too many times to count, for the way things are. I’ve prayed for guidance, but the answer was always, “Wait.”
For a couple of years I had been going back and forth in my head of what situations I could not find resolution or reconciliation, in. I’ve spent too much time staying up thinking, “God, don’t they know how many years I’ve sat up crying night after night about them? Hurt because no one would listen? Angry at the injustice? Looking to every side of me for someone to have my back, and no one was there?! Don’t they know how much they’ve hurt me to my very core?! Don’t they know how hard I’ve relentlessly tried to stop feeling this pain? Don’t they know that I loved them even when they were talking behind my back? GOD, DON’T THEY KNOW?! Do they even care how deep this pain goes?!” I made myself sick with anxiety, depression and pain for this situation. I’m crying and all the while they could barely remember my name or the lies they told about me. People who intentionally hurt you, don’t care to think about how you’re feeling because then they’ve got to think about what they did to make you feel that way! They were using their time differently than me, and here I was stuck in the same cycle of grief, tears, anger and despair — that I felt bound to. The past just kept being a part of my present. And each time that I felt some relief that told me it was over, the next day I woke up with the same feelings as a few days before. I looked up a year later and realized that I could never get all of that time that I poured into this situation, back. I had abused my time instead of using it.
We think we have loads of time. We trick ourselves into believing that we have infinite days left to reconcile our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our afflictions, our past, our dreams. As sick as I’ve been, especially as of late, I don’t feel this to be true anymore. Instead I feel like time is running out and I may leave this earth with matters unsettled.
We all think that we have time… But what is time really if we have nothing truly substantial to our progress, to show for it? What is time if we don’t squeeze every drop out of it, in order to grow? What is time if we whittle it down to a splinter, with being petty and bitter instead of loving and forgiving? What is it that makes us think that that “someday” will ever come along for us to have another chance at getting the most out of our time? Time, for the most part is an illusion. It was meant to mark the change of season, but that also applies to the seasons of our lives. What we use our time for and against is what defines our hours, minutes and seconds. What we use that time for is what decides how much of it we really have left. I’m facing my own big battles and yet, my mind had been cluttered for so long with nothing else but the past that I could not fix.
When I first lost my son, someone said to me, “Time heals all wounds.” And at first I hung onto that. As time went by and my deep-ceded wound from losing my child still hadn’t healed, I waited some more. Thinking, maybe it hadn’t been enough time. Maybe I needed to hold out just a little bit longer to finally be okay. More time passed and that wound was still just as fresh as the day it was created, and I knew that the phrase I had invested so much of my time into believing — Was inaccurate and lacking, at best. It wasn’t until years later that I understood that it wasn’t time that healed all wounds, rather than what I did within that time that healed them.
I could sit and cry and commiserate my entire life long on how much my heart was aching for my child, but it would never get me a step closer to feeling better. To being able to face the day without that grief tearing away at my heart and debilitating my mind. It was what I did within that time to heal, to resolve myself to the fact that he was gone and not coming back, that would make the difference of if I lived through it or not.
We waste this precious gift that we call time on explaining ourselves to people who don’t want to understand us. To living the mundane existence of work, home, eat, sleep, repeat. We waste it with involving ourselves in foolishness and arguments that serve no purpose other than to thoroughly frustrate us. We waste and waste and waste, and at the end of the day none of it matters. What matters is, how we learn and grow in that time.
Time can be a marker. Something to tell us that we’ve spent too much of it on re-living terrible experiences. But when we choose to say, “My time is running out and I won’t waste another second entertaining what is killing me inside — Instead I’m going to use it to reach my goals, to make myself better, to forgive myself and others who’ve afflicted me, to experience life to its fullest — THEN we have found the true use of time. THEN we can look up and say, “Man time has gone by so fast but look at all the progress I’ve made! Look at where I am now! Look at who I am now! Look at how my life and my mind has changed!”
If you’re struggling as I was in making better use of your time, I hope this reaches you in the areas that you feel most obstructed or challenged in. I hope it resonates with you, that you have a choice of who and what you give your time to. Every day and more often than not, every moment — It is a choice. Will I focus on their craziness, will I focus on where I’ve failed or what others think about me OR will I focus on what I CAN DO to make my own life better! What I CAN DO to make myself whole. What I CAN DO to realize my dreams and bring them into being. The other nonsense that keeps you up at night and frantically bound to its frenzy during the day, the things that you have tried to make better but can’t, the things that you have no control over — They are a waste of this beautiful gift called time! We never get it back. We can’t turn back the clock. We can’t undo what has been done. We can’t change what has already happened. All that we can do is say I’m not going to spend another second living in past tense, I’m moving forward! I’m going to live in right now and let my mind be cleared of the past. Of what I didn’t do, of what I should’ve done, of what would’ve happened had I used my time differently. The past is the past and today, this moment, is all that we have! We’ll never be this age again. We’ll never have experienced what we just came through, for the first time — again. We can’t go back, we can only go forward and prepare our minds for what is now. Time isn’t to be wasted, it is to be used. That season in your life that you just can’t move passed, has already moved passed you! It is no longer. Don’t waste another hour, another minute, another second on it. Step into today with a renewed mind!
To those battling with endings in your life that are long dead and serve as nothing but a constant distraction of what you should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done — Realize that your past does not define you. The blessing is in the lesson. If they knew me back then, but don’t know me now — Then they don’t know me! If they knew how I used to handle things, but haven’t been around to know what I have learned since then — Then they don’t know me! If they were there for my struggle, but not for my rebound — Then they do not know how I’ve changed! If their opinion of me is based on time past then they better jump into the present with me or keep behind me, because I will not stop my progress! I will not let another second of my life be spent on worrying about their opinions of the person they used to know! It may be Thursday, but it will never be THIS Thursday, ever again and I need to use this time that I have, right!
Time is of the essence. Time is precious. What we do in and with it could be the very thing that pushes us into our destiny! It could be the shot that wins the game, if we turn our focus onto now and off of what is already gone! The time that passed you was just a season and though it may hurt for that season to end unfulfilled, it taught you something about yourself — So it isn’t all for not! If you’re putting off something that you know needs to be done, either step up to the plate or get off of the field because the time is now. We don’t have the guarantee of tomorrow. We don’t even have the guarantee of later today! Stop thinking you’ll be the lucky one who lives to be one hundred because that thought only suckers you into putting off what matters in this fleeting moment that you have. Whether you die today or you die at 120 years old, you will still look up and wish that you had more time. Let your opinions of how things should be — GO! Let the opinions of others — GO! If they’re not walking your walk, living your life or fighting your battles, then they’re just talking — LET ‘EM TALK! Not everyone will understand you. Not everyone will be for you. Not everyone is going to stand by you. Some people haven’t walked in your shoes, they haven’t seen what you’ve seen, they don’t know what you know and they haven’t been where you’ve been. The good news is, this is your life. What you choose to spend your time on, belongs to you. If you don’t spend it right, that’s on you too!
When we learn that time is precious, we start getting choosey with the battles we will and will not participate in. We get selective about the explanations we will and will not give, and picky about the people we let around us because we’ve learned that time spent playing tit for tat with anyone, is time wasted. There’s no time to compete with someone else when you’re busy happily living your own life. Pick your battles, learn to let go of the things that time has long passed you, on. Learn to surrender to the moment that you’re in and enjoy it. If it’s hard, learn from it. If it’s easy, be grateful for the break!