The first twelfth of 2017 has passed us by. In Hawaii, the months all roll together and time tends to have less meaning with the loss of the distinctive markers of the seasons.
There was a day last week when I woke up and took the dogs outside and complained when I came inside about the cold. I’m fairly certain it couldn’t have been less than 73 out. In my defense, I was standing in the shade. The girl from Michigan who refused to wear a coat laughed at how thin Hawaii had made her blood. And then, her heart cries a little, and misses the winter, and the fall, and even the spring.
In these limbo, island days, I seek to put a purpose and a pattern to my life.
How do we focus, structure, and live our lives in a way that is meaningful? That fulfills our calling?
Today, I woke up and began my day by reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. It weaved together a compelling reminder to live each moment with intentionality and to remember that there is no moment of our lives untouched by grace. Every moment, even brushing our teeth, is a moment ordain by God and for the glory of God.
So I have started to embrace some of the principles of minimalism and have spent the last few weeks slowly ordering my house, sorting through closets and drawers to determine what I holding on to unnecessarily, keeping what I value and donating the rest. I’ve attempted to change what I’m eating and how I’m shopping. Setting aside time for the farmer’s market and buying eggs from the chickens who wander the same bits of earth that I do are both habits I’m trying to adapt.
But even the best made plans are thwarted and inevitably I end up with chips in the pantry and produce that was imported. Instead of being the peacemaker, I choose to make a snarky comment. Instead of caring about my neighbor, I care about my convenience. In those moments, or, more truthfully, in moments significantly later when I am humbled I recognize my mistakes, there is a time for me to stop and to see the opportunity to reset and to rest in grace. Even that moment is not a moment lost, but a moment found in the love of Christ.
Dr. Messer, quite possibly the most influential professor I had in college, was a professor who seemingly should not have impacted me greatly. I only took one class from him my last semester. I didn’t care for the subject much and he didn’t allow us to use our laptops for notes. Most classes, I just sat there waiting for my coffee to kick in. But I’ll never forget the beginning of every class. Without fail, he always began our mornings by opening in a prayer and always ended that prayer by petitioning that God would equip us to “redeem the time” He had given us.
Redeem the time. It has stuck in my head for years and repeated itself like lyrics to a song that I can’t quite finish. Had it only been repeated once or twice, I would have easily forgotten it. It was seared into my brain by the prominent place at the very beginning of class and the endless repetition. I am grateful.
What does it look like to redeem the time given to me today? How can I lavish on each moment with the redeeming grace and love that I have been lavished with?