Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Spending time meaningfully is a lost art. The phrase "killing time" suggest a boredom and lack of productivity, but spending time suggests presence and meaning. One of my favorite poems describes time better than I ever could:

Image credit: pilgrimtraveler.com

 A Time for Everything

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace
                                                  ~ Ecclesiastes

The world is a strange place. When you're young, time has a way of slowing down. At age twenty, a year can seem like a long time--and it is. One year is 5% of a twenty year old's life.

When my great grandmother was spending her last days in the nursing home, she would often say, "The days go by slowly, but the years pass quickly." At the time of her death she was ninety eight years of age. She'd lived a good life, but at the end she spent her days in the routine of the nursing home, and with many of her children having died and her other children and grandchildren living far away, her visitors were few and far between.

When she did have visitors, they cared for her very much. My parents would sneak her beer and pizza. She winced the first time they had her try Diet Coke.

My Aunt Anita, a major in the Air Force and a nurse, dressed down the nursing home staff when she found out Grandma Lohmen was no longer getting dessert for dietary reasons.  My Uncle Mark, a pastor, let another Lutheran pastor experience a righteous rebuke when he found out Grandma Lohmen wasn't receiving regular pastoral visits and communion.

Time is a funny thing. In our modern world, it has become the enemy. People rush from task to task, fighting the hectic demands of work and constant communication with people in far away places. How many times do we see a group of friends sitting together, checking Facebook or sending text messages to people who aren't there?

Others who are sick, in the hospital, or passing days in an empty house or the room of a nursing home experience time at a much slower pace. Time can make one downright depressed.

When running, loneliness rarely creeps into my mind. I can be content with my inner world as I experience the movement of the outer world around me. I can run with a group of people as we share stories, laugh, and exert ourselves together.

Time is a strange thing, but it's not the enemy. Time is a gift. Spend it wisely.

Run well.

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