My 3-year-old has no concept of time. “Is it Tuesday?” she asks on Saturday. “Is it night time?” she asks when a cloud covers the sun.
Of course, anyone who has ever loved a toddler already knows, the worst is when we have somewhere to be. She couldn’t care less that we’re running late when she decides she wants to tie her shoes or put on her seat belt or button her jacket by herself.
Take a few minutes to breath
But Gather’s fall Bible study has me wondering if this understanding of time is more of a gift than it feels like. Maybe this insistence isn’t an interruption to my day. Maybe it’s the Spirit’s way of urging me to take a few minutes to breathe?
I know my way of looking at time—and of trying to cram as much stuff into it as possible—isn’t exactly healthy. I spend a lot of my time getting ready to go somewhere, planning to do something, wishing I had time to be doing something else.
“For some reason, it is often easier to talk about the past or the future than the immediate present,” the Rev. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni writes in Gather’s October issue. “After all, we can choose which past events or future plans we wish to share.”
But my 3-year-old has no problem discussing the present. “Right now, I need help with this puzzle,” she insists. “Right now, I’m going to throw a rock into the river, and no one can stop me.” “Right now, I am hungry, and I will have macaroni and cheese and nothing else ever again.”
What if we all approached “right now” with the same fervor as a 3-year-old who wants macaroni and cheese? What could we accomplish?
Right now, I want justice! Right now, I want my neighbor fed! Right now, I want children and families and vulnerable people to be safe!
“The awe-filled wonder of this promise is evident in Paul’s insistent words to the church at Corinth,” Aelabouni writes. “‘See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!’ (2 Corinthians 6:2). Every time our Scriptures are opened, they announce the kairos time of the risen Jesus Christ, who is God with us, incarnate in this and every ‘now.’”
What are you doing “now”? Will you use the present to regret and daydream? Or will you use it to make a difference?
Maybe, like my daughter, you’ll use it to learn and grow? And perhaps I’ll teach her to use that fighting spirit to make sure everyone has enough.