Putting the ‘e’ back in time


13 Jul 2015
The ‘e’ is a mischievous character. Often it disappears unannounced and leaves me scrambling.
“Blasted ‘e’ “, I curse, grieving over not having enough hours in the day to do everything and be everywhere.
“Come back here ‘e,'” I lament, fretting at not being able to get done what I (think I) need to get done.
“All I need is ‘an extra e'”, panicking at the ever-growing to-do list which I’ve taken so long to rack my brain over to write.
The anxiety churns and constricts; when really, I just need to take a breath. A long, deep breath. And find the ‘e’.
I’ll admit I often cut my time short by reliving the past, trying to correct the mistakes in my head, and by worrying about the future, trying to avoid re-making said mistakes, when really, all I need to do is concentrate on the here and now. It sounds so easy but why is it so damn hard?
Some Eastern faith traditions refer to this time-management skill as mindfulness. I even saw a collection of mindfulness colouring-in books at the local bookstore – as if I’ve got time for that. Oops, there I go again.
How easy is it to get caught up in the demands and struggles of our secular world? How easy is it to say I’m too busy to check in with a friend or appreciate the views a long walk can provide? Dare I question, how easy is it to forget to spend time with God?
In a staff conference recently, when my mind was frantically racing through lesson plans and marking schedules and report comments and registration requirements and mortgage obligations, my train of thought was stopped suddenly by our school chaplain, with this provocative sentiment: “marinate in God’s love.”
“But marinating takes time!” my head silently screamed.
Precisely. When we find the ‘e’ in time – and even add an extra ‘e’ – to marinate in God’s love, then it should have a domino effect, gently touching – even fuelling – every aspect of our lives.
Author, Jack Kornfield, once wrote: “At the end of our life our questions are simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?” I know the answer for both lies in how we spend our time; I hope you and I can answer “yes”.
Helen Jacobs is a Catholic highschool teacher specialising in Religious Education and English.
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