Illustratoin by Murekida
Time is a rather curious gift. It’s given at birth, an open-ended invitation to become. We move on, life happens, priorities wax and wane, and we often hear ourselves saying things like, “I wish I had the time,” or “One of these days.”
J.R.R. Tolkien says, “All that we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
But life, like time, is not lived out in a straight line. Adversity and challenges pop up with amazing regularity and certainly are rewarded with our attention. But somehow, we tend to overlook joy. Overlooking joy – a blessing unacknowledged amidst the pressures of our time – is problematic. Joan Chittister notes, “Joy is the spirit of God in time. It is the only taste of eternity that is freely given.… Joy is the energy to carry on through dull days knowing miracles can happen because we have seen them in the past.”
But the news tells us we live in the present – we are immersed in it, it invades our homes, workplaces, families, and worship. Sometimes, while we wait, overcome perhaps by the chaos, we miss the grace of the present moment, so very eloquently expressed in the book of Ecclesiastes. The book invites us to see the mosaic of life as part of the human experience to be savored so that we can enjoy life before the moment passes us by. Ecclesiastes calls us to look at the universal and reclaim the particular – to allow ourselves to question and perhaps be questioned. With humility comes a teachable spirit.
Perhaps it is time to develop what the eco-theologians call “a contemplative consciousness.”
So we are challenged to look at life once more – with new eyes – to see what we have missed in ourselves and in the “other.” Ecclesiastes is clear that the gift of time demands that we use it well to build up the reign of God. Exactly what governing boards are called to do.
As Psalm 90 says:
13 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom….
17 May the beauty of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”
The mosaic of life
Ecclesiastes calls us to look at the universal and claim the particular – to allow ourselves to question and perhaps to be questioned.