I have become a master of time.
Over the months and years of mothering and working and searching for beauty, I’ve developed little tricks to accomplish the things that must be done. For instance, I can unload the dryer, re-load it with fresh soggies AND put a new load of dirty clothes in the washer all in the two minutes it takes my oatmeal to cook in the microwave (folding is another story). I usually scrub down the shower while I’m taking mine. I have all manner of disinfectant wipes and cleaners tucked away in the nearest drawers…every available surface is always an arm’s length away from a quick scrub down.
When a girl has dreams, for Pete’s sake, she finds a way to fit it all in. She gets up at 5 a.m. to write a blog post; she skips lunch to go for a run; she stays up way too late leaving traces of her DNA all about the house and into the never-realm of cyberspace.
The problem? These past couple weeks I haven’t felt like mastering time. These past couple weeks I have wanted to savor it instead.
In church on Sunday, my pastor preached about Naaman. Naaman was a master of many things—one of which, I suspect, was time. I’m guessing Naaman did not like to waste time. But after hearing about the prophet Elisha’s miracles, Naaman rode a long way to ask if the man of God would cure him of his leprosy. When Elisha told Naaman—the great commander of armies—to wash in the river Jordan seven times and he would be cured…well, Naaman was angry. He thought it would be a waste of time.
When I read Naaman’s story, I started thinking about all the things I have seen as a waste of time. How, these past couple weeks, these time-wasters are the only things that seem to make sense. It’s the long walks under the moon, the whispers under the covers at night, the looking him in the eye when we say goodbye in the morning. It’s the sitting with, and the slow touch, and the taste of chocolate. And it’s how I’ve been thinking about what makes people happy and knowing it’s not sterile countertops and two-minute laundry marathons. And I think about the boy who left us and I look at mine and it’s the way they still let me rub their backs, pull them close when we sit in the pew at church.
And I think about Naaman dipping seven times in the river Jordan and I know. It’s the dipping into these things, seven times, seventy times, a million times…this dipping into the things that feels like a waste of time—if we are willing—that usher us into the presence of God.
It’s all these things that seem like a waste of time that make us clean.
For who, when these things are taken away, wouldn’t trade all that she has to have them back again? To fold the socks, to wash the bowl, to tuck the covers in tight around the sleepyhead?
There are things that need doing—why not dip in with love? I’m trying to hold on to this, friends. Before it slips through my fingers like so much muddy water from the Jordan River.
with the amazing Jen: