“You put a letter to yourself in a time capsule twenty years ago. What does it say?”
So prods the writing prompt I “happen on” in this book I picked up at Barnes and Noble.
The prompt, of course, intends to ignite imaginative writing: fiction, or a “real life” account of two decades past (which also, let’s face it, would undoubtedly prove at least part fiction).
I consider what such a letter might say, and suddenly it hits me: I did this!
Several posts back, didn’t I say my journaling is like letters to my future self? So aren’t those battered journals, all lined up in rows stuffed into my old 1950’s file cabinet, actually time capsules?
I must still have the one from twenty years ago, I muse. Hmm, that would be late 1995/early ’96…
So I go digging in my sort-of organized journal archives (sort-of un-organized, too, but, well, I’m able to locate it).
And though the entries are sparse during that hectic, overloaded era, and drop off entirely by January 12, what theme do I encounter, right off, but Time Use! (And no, I don’t journal about this everyday!)
This entry strikes me as especially interesting, and, well, timely—and worth sharing here, in light of my last two posts, which pondered that subject. So, here’s what my “time capsule letter to myself” said:
[Good to note first: At the date of the writing, we’d recently moved, were buried in remodeling—to the extent of gutting the walls—and expecting extended family for Christmas, and, oh, yes, my son was a college-bound high school senior and we were home schooling.]
11-30-95. I rise early, troubled. Awakened by a nagging list of “things-I-gotta-do,” I am bothered by how the demands of material life in this present world are butting in and crowding out the abundance that is mine in Christ.
In the past few days, since Thanksgiving, I have “gotten things accomplished.” I have ordered half the Christmas presents, helped D___ get his room primed and painted…, gone over AP [advanced placement] materials and developed with him somewhat of a strategy for attacking the courses and preparing for the exams. I have sorted through and organized the files of house remodeling info and ideas, straightened out problems about the College Board never having sent D’s SAT scores to [his college of choice], and done perhaps a host of other things that I can’t even bring immediately to mind right now.
Yet the more I’ve done, the more my mental list of things I still haven’t done seems to have grown, only to nag me more loudly and relentlessly.
What’s going on?! And what to do about it?
It seems akin to the frantic financial struggle of a person trying to meet bills and payments and provide for needs without putting into action the principle of tithing—and only becoming more and more convinced by the financial demands that (s)he can’t afford to tithe—when the truth is that (s)he can’t afford not to… for the money is God’s, and not trusting Him with His own money is not only robbery [Mal 3:8] but also presumptuous trust in self more than Him.
Likewise I need to see time as God’s possession.
Am I even “tithing” my time when I get so entangled in the to-do lists and busy activities?
In all honesty, no. All time belongs to God, as does all wealth, and how foolish I am to try to grab it all for my needs and duties instead of trusting Him to supply the time I need just as he does the material needs, if I will but take the step of faith that makes time for Him the priority.
At some point after that, I remember, I did the math, figured what fraction of my time, or maybe even my waking time, I relegated to God. And it was interesting, what I discovered. Now where could I dig to find that time capsule…?