As I age, I’m aware there’s less of it. Time. Reminders lurk in odd places, like at the grocery store. The guy’s T-shirt read,”In dog years I’d be dead!” I laughed, then calculated my age. Fast. Dr. Seuss reflected,” How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June.”
When I was growing up, my parents reminded me often to “redeem the time.” That meant quit wasting it. Stop stalling, which I was good at. Still am. So, how does one “redeem the time”? How do we buy it back? Forgiveness? Reconciliation? Choose better today? All three, for starters.
The King James version of Ephesians 5:16 reads, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Time is not evil. It’s God’s gift. But we use it for good or evil. The same verse in the New Living Translation reads, ” So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.”
These are perilous times for our climate, nation, world, physical and mental well-being, and The Church. Sometimes, we’re too tribal for truth. We lack empathy for those outside our kind or our belief system. Too often, we forget to be civil, grateful and teachable. We miss “opportunities to do good.”
In contrast, I share again a story about John Constable, nineteenth century English landscape painter. His eldest son, John, wrote in his diary about one unforgettable day. Critics came from far and near to their home for an exhibition of his father’s newest paintings. The focal point was a massive landscape hidden behind curtains, for a special unveiling. When the drapes parted, folks gasped at the canvas, slashed from top to bottom.
Later that evening, son John returned home, looking guilty and scared. The father asked, “John, did you do this?”
What happened next marked the son forever. John’s father simply asked,”How shall we mend it, my dear?”
Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Art Buchwald said,” Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”
As I write and reflect, I’m overwhelmed with guilt, and sadness from missed opportunities to do good, or from times I contributed to the evil in this world. There are many ways to “slash a canvas.” Then I remember one of the names for Jesus is Redeemer. And tenderly I sense Grace whisper, “How shall we mend it, my dear?”
Maybe that question belongs on a T-shirt. It’s bound to deliver more hope than “In Dog Years I’d be dead.”
As Dean Robert reminds us daily, “The night has passed and the day lies open before us, let us pray with one heart and mind as we rejoice in the gift of this new day…”
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