Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday's Essay - No Present Like Time

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this message by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

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To hear the song, Deadline, go to the link below:



One of my favorite artists is a David Lamotte. And of all his songs, the one that always touches me is entitled, Deadline. Now it’s about a woman who grows up with a father who’s always busy doing things that he sincerely believes is important to his family. He’s what you could call a really hard worker and a really great provider, except for one thing. You see, even though he makes sure his daughter has everything she needs and wants, the one thing he’s not willing or able to give is time. Of course, she grows up the same way, sacrificing time with her daughter and husband so that she can provide for them. And this continues even after she’s told that her father has died. And in the refrain that repeats several times during the song, “There’s no time like the present. There’s no present like time.”

Image result for busyNow like I said, that song always touches me, and I think the reason is obvious. As my good friend Richie Marshall says, “I work too hard and too long.” I think that probably applies to me as well. Of course, I recognize that not everyone would agree with my priorities and time allocation. Still, I try to do the best I can, as a servant of God, to do what he’s called me to do. And for me, that seems to take more a lot of time, time that could be spent with my wife and daughter.

Of course, I don’t think my situation is unique. Although there are plenty of folks who look wistfully to the past and wonder out loud why we can’t live in a world where only one parent works, the reality is that we don’t. We just don’t live in that kind of world anymore. For reasons that are financial, personal and even spiritual, most parents have jobs outside the home. And it doesn’t matter whether the reason has to do with earning enough to keep the wolves away or feeling the need to build and maintain a professional network of friends or being dedicated to make good use of the gifts and talents God has given, it’s easy for our attention to become distracted from those whom we love most. And we forget the most precious gift God has given, namely our children. And this is something that was brought home to me earlier this week as I read about the Manchester bombing. You see, the time will come for us all when we’re just not able do undo the mistakes we’ve made. There’s no time like the present; there’s no present like time.

And for that reason, I think it’s important to claim and to give as much time as we can to those whom we love and who love us. Of course, I recognize that not all time is created equal. I think quality nearly always trumps quantity. And I’ll tell you, that’s got to be good news for busy people. I mean, spending a half-hour playing a game or talking in a car may be a lot more meaningful than being in the same room for three hours, concentrating on a YouTube video or taking a BuzzFeed quiz or playing a video game all alone. Now having said that, I don’t want to suggest that technology, by it’s nature, is a distraction. As a matter of fact, with a little creativity, laptops, smart phones and pads can actual provide a personal shared space regardless of the distance. And I think any person who looks forward to skyping or facetiming a grandchild or parent can attest to that. Even Facebook can be a wonderful way to connect. You see, I don’t think the “how” is that important. It’s all about just doing it. It’s about deciding that the other person has an importance at least as high as the job or the hobby. And it’s about making the effort to be present in whatever way we can.

Image result for no present like time
Of course, tonight I doubt that I’ll get home before nine. And Saturday is my long day, and I’ve got a wedding to boot. In other words, I’m an easy target for the words, “practice what you preach.” But given that blending of demands and expectations we all face, I want to make sure that both Debbie and Maggie know that I love them. And I don’t want to waste the limited time that I have. And this is something I’m going to do right now, because there’s no time like the present, and there’s no present like time.

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