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Spending Time When the Choice is Mine

Today I had the opportunity to talk about what it means to be fulfilled in our lives when things are not as we think they should be. If COVID-19 is showing us anything, it is showing us ourselves. I believe that both the best and the worst of who we are exists in us at any given time, and it is possible for them to show up on the same day. Anyone with even an ounce of empathy right now has to admit that people are entitled to the pain, the hurt, and the frustration we're experiencing. What will history say of us and what will the outcome of all of this be. How will we record the things people said, the things people did, and the reactions they made. My son was complaining yesterday about how bored he was and at first I was empathetic and a little bummed out for him. Then a thought interrupted those sentiments as I reminded him of how blessed we are to still be healthy, to have our financial needs met, to be able to come and go using social distancing, and other blessings that keep showing up. And then I said something that you might perceive as morbid. I told him that there were three options to consider: sickness, death, and boredom. I reminded him that boredom is the hands-down winner, and further, that boredom was the one thing of those three he could totally control and should. I reminded him that boredom is a choice, a decision. I told him that only time will tell but I predict that after this pandemic that some of the people who could have complained about being bored will instead be millionaires, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, skilled crafters, tradesmen, and artists. I reminded him of the precious gift of time that some long for and will never again have, especially those who have lost loved ones too soon to a disease without a cure or vaccine soon enough to save. How ironic it is that one perspective of time differs so radically from another. None of us knows and all of us hopes that we do not lose anymore than we've already lost to COVID-19, but crying boredom and wasting time when none of us knows how much we have and how soon it might change, especially now, is an insult to sanity and an ungrateful mindset to adopt. I reminded him of the thousands of things that our fast-paced life denies us because it is necessary to pursue endeavors largely devoted to producing income to live. There are books to be read, things to be learned, creations to be made, innovations to be tried, and impossibilities to be made possible. As I thought about my discussion with my son and my remarks to my congregation, I too had to stop and take stock of my own mindset. I have complained about the onslaught of work-arounds at work that are mind boggling, and honestly I have wished that I had more of the time that boredom is claiming from others. But even with less disposable downtime than some, I am still determined to practice a gratefulness that I still am spending time and that my time is not spent. Whether we are grappling for every second like front-line workers or bored out of our minds like teenagers, or somewhere in between, making time count and placing it in high value is something we could all contemplate more gratefully. Whatever we believe about time, it is certain that we all have a limited amount, so what we do with what we have is totally up to us, at least under most normal circumstances. It is a gift that I thank God for everyday. I will not complain of boredom and I will encourage my children and others to consider the insult we offer God when we do so. I pray that you will live all the time you get and celebrate all the moments you can. So here's to a cup of time and longevity well flavored, well savored, and some day a long time from now, very well spent.

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