AHEAD OF YOUR TIME
MEDITATIONS ON TIME
Hurry Up and Wait:
Letting go of the need for
THE DIVINE HOURS
of us have very busy lives and feel as though we are always in
a hurry. Others may have had to
slow down for reasons outside
their control and may feel some resentment, or at least a slight
sadness, at not being able to do as much or do it as fast as was
possible in the past.
of the reasons we find it difficult to slow down is that we have
not become convinced of the need for
things to occur “in the
fullness of time.” We
feel there is so much to accomplish and so few years in which
to do it all that we've
become addicted to instant everything. It probably started with
instant mashed potatoes! Now there's instant food at drive-through
instant cash from an ATM, instant credit from all manner of stores,
and instant information available online. We have lost the ability
to let life unfold in its own time.
Scriptural record, however, gives us another way to think about
time. How long did Abraham
and Sarah wait for the arrival
promised heir, Isaac? God first revealed to Abraham that he
would be the father of many nations when he called him to leave
country and go to the land God would show him. Abraham was
75 years old.
Fifteen years later, when Abraham was 90, God renewed his promise.
Ten years later, at age 100, Abraham and Sarah finally had
their son. That’s a total of twenty-five years before “the
fullness of time.”
long did the Israelites wander through the desert after leaving
Egypt on their way to the
Promised Land? Forty long
certainly doesn't take 40 years to get from where they started
in the Nile
Delta to reach Jericho. I wonder if God felt they needed
to slow down so they could really experience the “fullness
of old Simeon, the priest in the temple, who waited his whole
life to see the promised Messiah. God had
that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. Then
when Mary and
Joseph brought Jesus into the temple to be blessed, Simeon
lifted him up and said, “Lord now let your servant
depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes have
you have prepared for all the world to see. A light to
lighten the Gentiles and the hope of your people Israel.” The “fullness
of time” had arrived.
long did Jesus pray in the Garden of Gethsemane? Probably hours,
yet hours that
moved as slowly as a lifetime. But
not until he
was on the cross —in the fullness of time—could
he say, “It
the horror and grief of Jesus’ death,
how long did Mary and the disciples wait in pain? Three
days, but days that
an eternity, as anyone knows who has lost a loved one.
long did they wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit? Remember,
Jesus had said to them, “I send the promise of my Father
on you, but stay in Jerusalem until you have been clothed with
from on high.” How long did they wait for
this mystery to occur? Fifty long days.
long has the Church waited for Christ to come
again? Although many have tried to define the actual
at which it will
happen, we continue to wait. We have waited more
than 2,000 years, and
continue to wait until the “fullness of time.”
way of holiness is not achieved through hurriedness,
busy-ness, or instant
production. The way of God is the way of waiting.
how, then, does this affect us in our daily lives?
Donald Nicholl, a Roman Catholic lay theologian
professor, has these thoughts
to offer us:
don't notice the small things if you are moving fast. Suppose
the person you
most love is in a railroad station and
you are looking for one another. If she stands
still and you pass through the station at 100
miles per hour, you will not find each
also wrote, "
gauge to the rush factor in one's life is the
signature on a check or other papers. A hurried,
illegible signature may mean one
needs to slow down. A second of time will not make much
and deliberately slowing down
allows one to get into a proper
rhythm for the day.
For those of us who are rushing through
our days at break-neck speed, an ordinary
becoming holy may
simply be to
practice slowing down. Do the dishes
more slowly in the morning, drive
more slowly to work, handwrite a letter
pushing buttons quickly
on a computer, walk from your car into
the store more slowly, eat more slowly.
conscious acts of slowing
ready your spirit
for the moments of grace, moments that
we might not see if we race by too swiftly.
© 2006 Renée Miller