Time tells the story of our true lives

I wish I had the time. If there is a bigger lie in modern American culture, I’m not sure I’ve heard it. “I wish I had the time,” is the psychotropic drug of our beleaguered conscience, the purple pill to make reality diminish in a blissful fog of indifference. I wish I had the time…. ahhh….. and all that guilt goes away, for… a time.

If I’ve learned one thing these many years bumbling and stumbling through life its that virtually everyone makes time for what is truly important to them. Just as a person’s checkbook register tells the story of their priorities, a bank balance on time spent shows what we are really all about.

Sometimes we actually stop and think about it. We consider all we said no to, and all we said yes to, and where all that time went, and it scares the living shit out of us. That’s when the need for delusion steps in and we medicate with that lovely, “I wish I had the time…”

Nobody hears this more than God. In the cacophony of noise, needy prayers, God must hear excuses about time more than anything else, a creative list of of reasons why the one thing She wants the most — time with us; that’s what we were created for, after all — is the last thing we bring to the relationship. I’m a fairly typical Christian liberal. I can make myself very, very busy FOR God, while having virtually no time WITH God. I’m so busy trying to make God happy I don’t pay much attention to whether He really is happy. So the excuses flow: “I wish I had the time…”

Case in point: Coffee. Not a day goes by I don’t make time for my coffee. Most days I have it the very first thing every morning, having taken the time the night before to set up the coffee maker. I wake up, walk to the bathroom and on my way push a button.  A little while later, I have my coffee.

For more than a year, with equal regularity I made time for God without fail. I grabbed my coffee and my spiritual books and gave a few minutes every single day no matter what to God. I read, I prayed, I sat quietly and tried to listen. I just gave God the time we both needed.

Now that meeting place gets lost in the shuffle more than I like to admit, even though there really isn’t a reason. I walk by the yoga mat, and ignore the books instead of laying out the mat, grabbing the books and sitting by the fire like I did first thing this morning, my first few moments of wakefulness on this blessed new year.

This morning anyway I didn’t have to say, “I wish I had the time.”

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The time for what? To simply sit. To clear the clutter of my life away and sit with God. Everything else comes after that. To be with God is what I’m created to be.

I can try to change the world but God has even that taken care of, telling us to simply pray it into being: “On Earth as it is in heaven.” The change I want in the world is already reality on the other side and God assures us She will blend this side and that together in seamless harmony.

In the meantime, if we take the time, we can see it for ourselves by simply being with God. God taught us this; He explained how He felt and showed us how we function best. Have you ever fallen wildly in love? Your thoughts swirl around that person in blissful orbit. You talk for hours about nothing. Every moment is precious. Suddenly that busy life that had no room for love is now defined by that love. Time expands. We make time for what we want to do, and loving someone is the best thing ever, so we want to fill our days and nights with their presence.

So imagine the broken heart when God hears again and again, “I’m sorry, I wish I had the time.”

Time spent. That’s sort of what God had in mind, because She was lonely. She wanted to be with us. She loves us that much. I’ve read often of late how a 15-minute-a-day practice of meditation produces vast improvements on our physical health, and I think, “No shit.” Being in our Creators presence every day is bound to make us healthier and happier than if we go it alone.

Doing what spiritual sages have prescribed for millennia simple recognizes our humanity and what it means to be fully human.

We live an almost inhumane existence with incessant chimes and bleeps and blips demanding our attention and over-indulged schedules that imprison us and cost us the freedom of our own time. We wouldn’t dream of stopping the Habitrail we scamper on in endless panic to simply sit and be and experience God, never mind the reports that act as if this ancient knowledge is “news.”

Last night we stopped and paused to count time. We paid attention to clock ticks. We became aware of this limited resource incessantly passing through the narrow end of the hourglass, that is if we stayed sober long enough to consider it. Isn’t it ironic that one holiday dedicated to an absolute focus on the present moment has become synonymous with blinding drunkenness?

Today we may be full of resolve to use those grains of sands better this year. To “make time” as if we possess that Divine ability. Stay off the medication of excuses just long enough to grasp this simple reality. Your priorities are evident to all, especially God, by how you spend the time She has given you.

May this year those expenses be conscious, purposeful and mindful, and may you use your time on those that really matter.

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