Time. Isn’t it amazing? We all have the same amount of it and yet we never seem to have enough of it. When you think about it, time is one of the most valuable commodities that we all possess. After all, there are only twenty four hours in a given day no matter how wealthy one is or how poor. The value in time is how we make use of it.
When I was young I loved to read the comics section of the Birmingham News. One of the strips that always caught my eye was called Dondi. It wasn’t a funny comic. Rather, it told the story of a young lad that had been adopted by an American soldier during the Korean War. At the war’s end he moved to the United States with his new family, and the comic strip followed his adventures growing up in a new and strange land.
I remember being captivated by one of the daily strips in particular. The main character’s grandfather was taking him somewhere special. Dondi was running around excitedly trying to get Grandpa to hurry up so they could get on the road. Grandpa, of course, was working to ensure they had what they needed to make the trip. So, he was in a more relaxed mood as contrasted with the excited display of his grandchild.
In an aside in the column, the grandfather said something like this: “Isn’t if funny that those who are starting out in life and have all the time in the world are constantly rushing about like they haven’t enough, while those who are closer to the end want to slow it down to make it last as long as possible.” As a youngster that was a pretty profound concept for me. It obviously struck a chord because I can still recall it after almost sixty years.
Yet, in contemplating that wisdom from the older sage, I also have to acknowledge and confess how I can get downright put out if the drive thru at my favorite burger joint isn’t fast enough with my order. Or I let it bother me when my computer takes too long to start up some mornings. Then, I have to deal with the frustration when a train backs up traffic causing me to sit and wait for what seems an eternity. Never mind that I still remember life before drive thru’s, Google search, email, fax machines, or the remote control for my TV! All of which have been a blessing and a curse when it comes to time.
It still brings me back to the premise I started with. The value in time is how we make use of it. That is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?
A co-worker of mine let me know that he was taking some vacation time. He wanted to take his twenty-one year old son to New York to visit Carnegie Hall. His son has always dreamed of seeing it in person. Like his father, he is musically gifted and I’m sure that is part of the fascination with Carnegie Hall. However, knowing his father as I do, I would imagine he is more interested in having time alone with his son who is pretty close to taking on the mantle of adulthood. How many more opportunities will he have to spend such quality time with him before he has a family of his own?
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to take a road trip with my oldest son. It wasn’t as long as a trip to New York, but we did spend several hours of windshield time together. During the trip we covered a lot of topics concerning sports, remodeling homes, family, and matters of faith. We had a really deep conversation about faith, family and our own relationship. It was a trip that I will cherish the rest of my life. I found myself like Dondi’s grandpa wanting the drive to take a little longer so it wouldn’t end. Of course, my son had things to do and places to go. So, he was trying to get back home in the hope he had enough time to get it all done by day’s end. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl 3:1).