I’ve recently started a new job and my watch went awol. I am completely adrift as all my regular rhythms are gone. I now work flexible shifts, and a lot of them. The absence of my watch has opened my eyes to how often I like to look at it. After a lifetime of living to a regular beat, I feel I’ve entered a room full of avant garde jazz musicians. All the familiar patterns and beats have gone and I’m trying desperately to make sense of it.
This has caused me to meditate on the way we mark our time … number our days … regulate our lives. For me, as a child it was marked by the amount of time I had to play. As a teenager, it was defined by the amount of time I could spend with my friends. As a student, it was college terms, a social life, lectures, essays and time in the art studio. As a candidate for the ministry, time was regulated around spiritual disciplines and study.
As a pastor, the weekly cycle of Sunday services, sermon preparation, prayer, counsel and visitation were my familiar joy. As a missionary, I marked my time in spiritual disciplines, discipleship, outreach and networking. While church planting and holding down a job, it was a weekly juggle of church, job and time for the family. More recently, as a web and email co-ordinator, my weekly rhythms were defined by seasonal e-newsletters, promotional event emails, updating web pages and time off.
For Carla and I, regular time together has been the life blood of our relationship. We know that the quality of our life in this world can only be as good as our time spent with God and each other. If the latter two suffer, so does the quality of our interaction in the wider world.
Some ways I’ve heard others count their days; – the number of sleeps; bin days [refuse collections]; holidays; birthdays; seasonal holy days e.g. Christmas; days off; lambing season; Sundays; Mondays; Fridays; quilt making nights; night classes; quiet times; games nights; family film nights; and the list goes on…
How do you count your days? Let me know. I’d love to hear.