Last night both of my boys were at the baseball fields. Carter had a practice with his team and Aiden had his first t-ball practice. The fields were actually next to each other so I was able to bounce between the two. The entire time I stood there, my mind kept going over how fast things have progressed. The little boy from four years ago was now down with his friends.
His brother now stood at first base spinning in circles and playing in the dirt.
I took a walk to the fence between the fields to find a friend of mine, a guy I had coached t-ball with back when Carter had started. I asked him, “Do you remember those days?” We had a good conversation and part of my heart ached for the time before.
It seems unfair that our lives are packaged with an expiration date, that we only have set years to experience things on this planet before we transition away. We have limited time to make an impact on our family and our loved ones.
Time scares me.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, wrote about the concept of time. He wrote that God experiences time in ways we do not. That moments don’t flow like a river, but exist all in connected point. God has the ability to see the entirety of the past, present, and future as if looking at one painting on a wall. Eternity is captured well in this image.
In Dante’s Inferno, his sinners can see the past and future, but have no knowledge of the present. They know what they did, they know what will happen to those they loved and the world, but they have no idea what is happening now. Imagine living a life without being in the present.
Sound familiar? We spend most of our lives this way.
The hardest part of time is that we marry it to emotions and regret. We set internal goals. By 21 we will….by 30 we will….by 50 we will…. and soon enough those years arrive and the imbalance plays itself out in many ways. We find ourselves happy and fulfilled, driven and making it happen, or upset at what we’ve lost and failed to gain.
Because some day you’ll get to completing the sentence. “One day I will” and that day will arrive. Some of the most over quoted verses in scripture come in the form of peace admonitions. We are often told to have peace and not be afraid, usually in the midst of the scariest moments. As people of faith, we enjoy throwing these verses at friends in the midst of struggle, sometimes without thinking about why or what we are saying.
The key to conquering time comes at night. In the still moments, when we rest and wonder about the coming dawn, take inventory. Break it into manageable content. Win a small victory.
Get one thing done.
Maybe that is the secret of peace, to know that you’ve done something with your time before it gets away.
Carter, our son dealing with anxiety, is currently obsessed with time. We were at the playground the other day and he kept asking me how much time was left. Finally, I told him to just go play and not worry about it.
Maybe that’s God’s point.
Don’t forget to go play. Get off the sidelines and out of the paralyzing grip of fear. Because one day it will be time. I’d rather be on the playground than on the side wondering what could have been and what games I’d missed.