Recently I was spending some quality time with my friend Kaitlyn and her 14-month-old son Becket. We had finished dinner and were sprawled on the floor among Becket’s toys. He was ignoring his toys and climbing the furniture.
Out of the blue, Kaitlyn remarked, “One thing I now realize is how much time I wasted as a single person. What was I doing?”
Now that her every moment belongs to lovable little “B” (who was at that moment lumbering across the sofa), Kaitlyn’s perspective on time had changed.
Hm. How do I spend my time?
This calls for a pie chart:
Well [fold arms across chest], that doesn’t look so bad. Work is a large portion of my life, but it rarely feels like work. Food and music are my joie de vivre. Most teachers succumb to a mindless hour of TV. I don’t waste much time.
But is this chart completely accurate? If I’m honest, I know some true time-wasters pervade my everyday activities, such as:
Time is the easiest gift to squander. As a single person I have an abundance of time to spend at my discretion. My married friends envy me.
Yet so often, I wish I could more deeply share this time. I remember how playful and energetic my parents were in their twenties; this is something I hope to give my children. I want to share the joys and sorrows of life with my spouse. I miss him at Christmas, though I do not yet know him. I wish he could have known my grandpa.
What I wouldn’t give to slice up my pie chart differently. What I wouldn’t give to have someone with whom to sing, with whom to eat all the cooking experiments. What I wouldn’t give to replace that ‘work’ category on my pie chart with terrible, awful things like changing poopy diapers, finding smashed grapes behind couch cushions, cleaning baby barf out of my favorite clothes, or throwing a tantrum because I can’t handle it all. To me, that pie chart would be in the shape of a heart.
Yes, married friends. The grass is greener, greener, greener on the other side.
This being said, probably the worst thing I could spend time doing now is dwelling on what I don’t have. This doesn’t bring peace.
What does bring peace is the knowledge that my desires are real, and they speak to a promise, a plan that God knows fully. Even now, I am preparing for my vocation, as Christ spent many quiet years in Nazareth before trading carpentry for public ministry.
I am reminded of a friend’s soothing quote, “God doesn’t waste time.” In this time, now, I am loving. I am giving. I am being called. I might waste time, but God doesn’t.
With this in mind, I’ll savor every piece of the pie.