Saturday, 12 January 2013

I haven't got time for this

With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his dad as he returned from work, "Daddy, how much do you earn an hour?"

Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said,

"Look, son, not even your mother knows that. Don't bother me now, I'm tired."
"But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you earn an hour," the boy insisted.

So the dad, finally giving up, replied: "£20 an hour."

"Okay, Daddy? Could you loan me £10?" the boy asked.

Showing his restlessness and positively disturbed, the dad shouted, "So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Go to sleep and don't bother me anymore!"

It was already dark and the dad was thinking over what he said and was feeling guilty. He thought to himself maybe the boy wanted to buy something.

Finally, trying to ease his mind, the dad went to his son's room.
"Are you asleep, son?" asked the dad.

"No, Daddy. Why?" replied the boy, partially asleep.

"Here's the money you asked for earlier," the dad said.

"Thanks, Daddy!" rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money. "Now I have enough!! Now I have £ 20!" the boy said to his dad, who was gazing at his son, confused at what the boy had just said.
And then the son asked his dad.

"Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?"

Time is a precious commodity, perhaps a priceless one...
“I haven’t got time for this”. It’s a phrase I’ve found myself repeating over and over again, these last few weeks. “I haven’t got time for this”. It began to develop over the Christmas period and intensified as I came towards the end of the year. Now you’d think that this would have come to an end as the new year developed, but it seems to have got worse this last week or so.
If someone were to watch me sat at my desk at the beginning of last week I am sure that they would draw the conclusion that I am some kind of mad man. Yes ok I have had some real problems with technology, I’ve had intermittent internet access and no telephone, which has impinged on my ability to do my work. Last Sunday it really came to a head. I had finished worship and had to be at an interfaith meeting a little later. I had an hour or so in-between and I had emails I needed to reply to as well as a need to publish my latest blog and to post it out there.  It had to be done that day! I was already frustrated because BT had told me they couldn’t repair my broadband problems until Wednesday and so I decided to go to a local cafe with my laptop and work from there. I sat there desperate to get on with it but was again held up by technical problem. I was becoming increasingly frustrated by all of this, it seemed to take forever to get online and when I did it just ran slower and slower. There I sat muttering to myself, “I haven’t get time for this, I haven’t got time for this, I haven’t got time for this”...madness, just utter madness...when I got home from the meeting later I sat down to eat and just began chuckling at myself at the way I’d been that day and that ridiculous line...”I haven’t got time for this”...utter madness
Time is such a precious commodity, we get just 24 hours in each day and it is important how we choose to spend what we are each given. This got me thinking of this peice of wisdom I recently came accross. Again it got me chuckling as I reflected on my recent madness.
Imagine if you had a bank that credited your account each morning with £86,000 that carried over no balance from day to day...Allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every pound every day, of course, and use it to your advantage! Well, you have such a bank, and its name is TIME! Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off as lost whatever of this you failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balances, it allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow.

Time truly is a precious commodity and how we use it maybe our only real freedom. Now of course we all have commitments, things that we have to do each day. That said we all still have so much time and I wonder how much of it we waste, worrying about the time left or with ill feeling about the time that has already gone and will not come back. How much of our day do we waste on either worry or resentment or with crazy statements like, “I haven’t got time for this.” These kind of frustrations just block us from experiencing the precious joy of the moment and none of us know just exactly how many of those we have left.
I made space over the Christmas period to spend a little time with friends and family, but I think I could have made more. I could have given more of my time, but I do think I used the little time I had well. Two friends, a dear couple, who I have known since I was a teenager shared a 40th birthday party, it allowed me to catch up with so many folk I had known for oh so many years. It enabled me to bring back memories that I had once forgotten. What is really interesting about many of those memories is that at one time they were sad and painful and yet today they fill me with joy. I re-member so much of my life differently today; I re-bind those thoughts and feelings from a very different perspective today.
I had some other beautiful conversations with familyover Christmas, which will continue as time passes. One blessing that I deeply apprecate these days is that I can spend time with each person I grew up with and just experience that gentle meaningful love that we share. I love listening to them talk about oh so much. Perhaps the greatest gift of my life today is the personal reconciliation I have experienced with all of my family. We have rebound ourselves together and I know that this has brought so much joy and peace to others. This is true religion in my eyes. Remember (re-member) that the word religion comes from religare which means to re-bind together. Every act of reconcilaition is a truly religious act.
The time we have with one another is oh so precious; we never know if the conversation we are having with our loved one will be our last one. I was acutely aware of this as I sat with my grand dad on Christmas day evening. I listened to him and loved him and I let him love me. Not in some special way, just in the ordinary way, the way that really matters.

I love the following by the nineteenth century Transcendentalist Henry David speaks of time well spent...

“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? …Time is but the stream I go fishing in. Sometimes in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon. I realize what the Orientals mean by contemplation…I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. It seemed to me that I had several more lives to live. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I learned this, at least, by my experiment, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. In proportion as he simplifies his life the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor will poverty be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

Now some will say that this is just self indulgence, wasting ones time, but is it? Thoreau doesn’t tell us what he experiences while he sits there in the doorway of his cabin; he does not describe what he saw, what he felt; he just tells us that he was there, he was present in that sacred moment; he tells us that he is paying attention to the world around him – he called this contemplation.

We all have time but it is limited, just 86.400 seconds a day to draw on and it is limited to those 24 hours, you cannot carry even a second over into the next. There may not be a next day. So as time is limited how should we then spend it? Well another of the great transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested the following.

 “To laugh often and love much. To win and hold the respect of intelligent persons, and the affection of little children. To earn the praise of honest critics and to endure, without flinching, the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty always, whether in earth’s creations or men and women’s handiwork.

To have sought for and found the best in others and to have given it oneself. To leave the world better than one found it, whether by nurturing a child or a garden patch, writing a cheery letter, or working to redeem some social condition.
To have played with enthusiasm, laughed with exuberance, and sung with exultation.  To go down to dust and dreams knowing that the world is a little bit better, and that even a single life breathes easier because we have lived well, that is to have succeeded!”
If we make good use of our time, the 86,400 seconds we have each day, we will make an impact on every moment that follows on into eternity. We have enough time to pause and contemplate the magnificence of life in its glorious ordinariness and we have time to listen to one another, even if we are in a hurry. The key is to no longer fall for the delusion that “we haven’t got time for this.” It is certainly a lesson I need to re-member. Because the truth is that we do have the time for this and everything else, we just need to pay attention to what is important, to who and what we love and to whatever the task is that has been assigned to us.

I’m going to end this little blog ith a final little story that I recently came across...

While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground.  “That’s my son over there,” she said, pointing to a little boy in a red jumper who was gliding down the slide.  “He’s a fine looking boy” the man said. “That’s my daughter on the bike in the white dress.”

Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter. “It’s time to go, Melissa?”  Melissa pleaded, “Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes.”  The man nodded and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart’s content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his daughter. “Time to go now?”

Again Melissa pleaded, “Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes.”  The man smiled and said, “OK.”  “My, you certainly are a patient father,” the woman responded.

The man smiled and then said, “Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him. I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa.  She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike. The truth is, I get Five more minutes to watch her play.”

“We have got time for this”...utter madness...if we haven’t then we need to make the time


  1. Danny, A great sermon ...
    The opening story of the boy buying time from his Dad ... and the closing story of the girl on the bicycle are as good as the great quotes from Thoreau and Emerson.

    Several of the lines of the Thoreau, I use most every month, including, TIME IS BUT THE STREAM I GO FISHING IN.

    THE MAIN LINES OF THE EMERSON QUOTE are on the wall behind me as I write this. I made a poster using the words and put on it a photo of Emerson sitting with a girl about 4 years old on his lap.



    Danny, hope you will consider joining our IARF Peacemaking Conference, 20-23 August here in Horsham. Love and blessings, Richard

  2. Beautiful work, Danny. Just beautiful.

  3. That's a sweet story. Sometimes, we just need to give some time for our kids. If You Had a Bank

  4. Thank you all of you...God bless ;-)