What was I thinking? What was I thinking? I can’t come up with a cohesive thought about Advent every day for a month! One day, yes. Two, maybe. But 25?! On top of everything else I have to do?! There’s not enough time! What was I thinking?!
It was easy yesterday, but yesterday I was filled with exuberant spontaneity and in possession of a long and empty Sunday afternoon. I had time to think and pray, time to tinker with words and sentences. Today, I have work and a full evening and a long to do list. It doesn’t seem right to squeeze God in a few minutes here, a handful of seconds there. And what a waste if all I can eek out are a few tired thoughts already said more eloquently by others before.
But okay, I want to observe Advent. Okay, okay, okay, okay.
As I’m filling the time I should be observing Advent by worrying about not having enough time to observe Advent, I’m reminded of a meditation by Dorothy Day. Day was a journalist in the mid-20th century, and so plagued by the incessant time constraint that affects journalists everywhere: the dreaded deadline.
One day, a Catholic priest gave Day some advice about time management. She took it to heart, wrote it down, and I found it in her book of meditations several decades later.
Here’s what she has to say:
“‘The only way to have more time,’ says Father Lacouture, ‘is to sow time.’ In other words, to throw it away. Just as one throws wheat into the ground to get more wheat. It must have seemed madness to throw that first wheat away – but more wheat sprang up a hundredfold.
So each day, start out by saying, there is plenty of time. And so to discard time, to throw it to the winds, to disregard all the work there is to do, and go sit in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour, to divest oneself of these accursed occupations – all in order to reap time, for those things which are necessary. Press day is a very good day for that.”
Press day! The very day journalists are most aware of that encroaching deadline, Day suggests going off to pray!
I have shared this quote with family members and friends before, and in response they all say something like, “Well, I kind of get it, but I’ll have to think about it some more…”
Yes. Me, too.
I kind of get it, but as soon as I think I do, its slippery meaning escapes my grasp.
I’m thinking about it today as I wish I had more time, time for Advent, time for God, time to write, time with friends and family, time to cross off the items on my to do list, time to work, time, time, time.
When we sow time, we reap time.
Like all good meditations, this one can be fractured a hundred different ways. Here are a few:
When we spend time with God, we sow the seeds of time in fertile ground, which means no matter what, we will reap the fruit of His Spirit.
When we throw away our time by spending it with God, we will see the necessary obligations of daily life in renewed light, seeing their purpose and our place in that purpose.
When we toss time into God’s outstretched hand, He catches it along with all the worries tangled in its net. God untangles worry from time, and hands time back.
When we sow a few minutes with God, He returns those minutes not as seeds, but tulips and roses and daisies and daffodils.
And after we’ve sowed time with God, it’s not as though He goes away.
I don’t have to squeeze God in here or there, like a woman scheduling a hair appointment; instead, I can open my heart to Him all the time, everywhere, like a lover who can’t stop thinking about her beloved. God’s presence is here, when I’m at work, when I’m out in the evening, in every item on my to do list, slipping into spaces of silence, moulding the words from my mouth, in my bones, in the mild Texas December. God doesn’t appear only when I think about Him, only when I pray; He’s always there. I don’t have to worry about having time for God; He’s a constant companion.
And look at that: I didn’t have time to write today, yet here it is, here’s a second blog post for Advent!
P.S. I’m still wrestling with this remarkable quote. If you have a thought about it, please share!