Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Prayer About Time, Again (Part Two)

Here's part two of Robert Banks's prayer about time, from his book The Tyranny of Time. (Read part one here.) This one's weighing on my not because of the oppression I often feel under time's ticking clock but because of my tendency to neglect the realities of finitude as I embrace all sorts of ways of occupying my time. This is a confession of sorts: in my ambitions, in my eagerness to experience life to the full, in my attempts to make people not only happy but dependent on me, I fail myself and my people and my God. Time in this sense is not a tyrant but a parent, teaching me in sometimes difficult ways that I have limits. God, of course, is more parent than tyrant as well, so in these difficult lessons I can take some comfort in knowing I am never alone.

Too often we forget . . . and fail to appreciate your generosity:
we take time for granted and fail to thank you for it,
we view it as a commodity and ruthlessly exploit it,
we cram it too full or waste it,
learn too little from the past or mortgage it off in advance,
we refuse to give priority to those people and things
which should have chief claim upon our time.
Help us to view time more as you view it,
and to use it more as you intend:
to distinguish between what is central and what is peripheral,
between what is merely pressing and what is really important,
between what is our responsibility and what can be left to others,
between what is appropriate now and what will be more relevant later.

3 comments:

Charity Singleton said...

Reminds me of Moses' prayer in Psalm 90: "Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

"We view it as a commodity and ruthlessly exploit it" -- Even the way we talk about "spending" time, "wasting" time, time is money, etc., reveals how we have made time a commodity. I think this must be one of the tragedies of modernity.

Jenn said...

Whoa, that's rather convicting.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

About what Charity Singleton said:
Viewing time as a commodity:
Is it that we are ever more acutely aware that time passes so quickly, that life is to short, that most of our life is wasted in the innocent bliss of childhood & youth or in the lack of self awareness.
That when our few moments of realization finally come to us, it is almost to late. It is now time to look at yourself & laugh that life has 'almost' passed you by, that the best years of our life are already over, what you have left are the dregs of fine wine that you never knew existed.
And it's time for that 'Nip & Tuck Sweet Sixteen' or to grow old gracefully unacknowledged, in sorrow.
Therefore we secretly become mean in spirit for having been cheated & so we babble "time is money" "time is money"
I am not a robot
I am not even a cyborg
But it would be handy & a lucrative trade in spare parts.