A Net for Catching Days
”How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and that one is what we are doing. A schedule defends us from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.” (Annie Dillard)
A few seconds in our lives stand out above the blur of all the rest. Declaring “I Do” to your spouse for life. Signing a contract for the loan for your first home. The clarity of a moment at work where you realize you were made for this. As the cliche reminds us, each day contains 86,400 unique moments to engage the gift that is your life unfolding over a relatively minor period of time within human history. For our family, 11:29am on Monday, March 31st, 2014 contains a moment like this that is forever seared upon the deepest recesses of our souls, as our precious daughter Mia Anne entered the world arms held high.
The rest of our days? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are filled with the depressing realization that we spend a third of our lives sleeping (over 28 years!), 2.5 years grooming ourselves, and most disturbing of all, almost 9 years (!) glued to the growing prevalence of social media invading every empty space in our lives. When all is said and done, in a life that spans almost 80 years, only roughly 1/8th of it actually is somewhat ‘unscheduled,’ free to be defined as we see fit. It’s really no wonder that time has been commodified into a currency, the literal feeling that “time is money.”
All this makes the manner by which we spend the normality of our days all the more critical. As Annie Dillard prophetically proclaims, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If 6 years of our lives are spent doing chores, with what attitude are we washing the dishes each evening? If 2.5 years are spent making purchases, what values are informing our spending habits? If 10.5 years are spent in our workplace, what sort of relationships are we building in this critical environment we are defined within? These are the questions that frame the long season of Ordinary Time, a period of almost six months within the liturgical calendar stretching from June through the end of November each year.
Ordinary Time is a season of normality in the resurrected reality we now live within. It’s a season to take the work of God from “Christmas to Easter seriously” (Joan Chittester).
How is your season of normality being currently spent?
“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, MSG).
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