“Time is waiting in the wings.” – David Bowie
“Hold fast the time. Guard it!” – Thomas Mann
I have always felt like I’m running out of time. I know this is normal for adults, particularly in the internet age, but it started when I was a kid.
I hurried from place to place, not just with my body, but in my mind and heart, always jumping to the next thing and the next and the next, cramming as many activities, thoughts, and feelings into 24 hours as possible, spurred on by an unshakable conviction that time was slipping from my grasp and I had to catch up.
My mom once drew a picture of me that looked liked like this:
As you can imagine, this laid the foundation for some interesting cognitive stuff.
The ruts of time-panic got deeper, manifesting in perfectionism, control, pride, depression, anxiety, and a smidge of bipolar as I went into adulthood. I frequently melted down over not having accomplished “enough” or being “too old” to do so (this at 20, can you imagine). My inner critical voice—the Evil Auctioneer—wore a giant wristwatch that he tapped with a sinister smile every time I took a break. Medication didn’t help. Productivity didn’t help. Nothing I did (or didn’t do) could break the dragging leash of the ticking clock.
That was my life for 35 years.
I won’t say that I met Jesus and suddenly I understood that time is a construct, relative in its passing to our perspective, and that I grasped the immensity of having not just one mortal life but the fullness of eternity to learn, grow, and do. Because I didn’t. And anyone who says they did is selling you something.
What I will say is that, in the last two years, I’ve noticed slack in the leash. That my pace has slowed in order for me to savor the time rather than collapsing from exhaustion trying to beat it. That, while I still have a sense of nebulous urgency, I can close my eyes and let it pass through me for Jesus to hold until it’s needed.
I also now see time as a companion rather than a competitor always outpacing me. I can look back on years, projects, relationships past and instead of regret or shame for not having done or been more, there is precious appreciation rather than bitter self-damnation.
Carefully and quietly, God has taken my lifelong curse of temporal, existential fear and transformed it into eternal, unhurried joy.
I still have rushed days—all parents of small children do —but they’re less. Less frequent, less manic, less destructive.
More days, I see time passing and smile, storing up in my heart what is precious and letting the rest go by, savoring what I cannot keep for its transient nature and remembering that this life is not forever, it’s just for now. That Heaven waits with even better rewards.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” [Ecc 3:11 NIV]
This post is part of Five-Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is HOLD. If you’d like to join in the fun, click here!