Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.
Last week was our daughter’s birthday. Stephanie is in her early 30’s so I sent a personalized birthday card using Short Message Service. Yes, I love the Hallmark commercials…sorry. No, it wasn’t a last minute thing, I actually chose the SMS-card (i.e. – text message).
While creating the birthday message, I traveled back to a small city in Southeast Kansas. Rita and I began our journey in Independence and that is where our first born arrived Friday, March 10, 1978.
What do you think I thought about?
So, is it just you or is time fleeting?
Reality check on time
Do you remember being asked: Where do you want to be in five years? or Where will you be a year from now? or Where are you going on vacation? What are you doing this weekend? or What do you plan to do tomorrow?
Have you noticed how often we answer such questions with great confidence?
Are you ready for the reality check on time”? Here it is:
We really don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
So why do we live like we do?
Enter the illusion. For many of us, life begins to seem so…so predictable that we begin to think whatever we plan we will do; whatever we say we will accomplish. And often we do, which only feeds the illusion.
We make plans to travel, we go and return home on time. We plan lunch and it happens just as we said it would. We say what we’re going to do tomorrow and we get it done.
Why do we think this will continue?
It’s called an illusion…it’s when our minds are deceived into believing something that is not true.
When we fall for the illusion about time we can misinterpret reality. If we misinterpret reality long enough our performance and relationships suffer.
A few weeks ago many residents of the mid-west experienced this reality check. How? You may re-call when several inches of fragile, beautiful snowflakes joined forces. In a matter of hours, a lot of plans changed, due to a lot of snow; yes, calendars with big plans were edited to read: “snow day” no matter what was scheduled for tomorrow.
Reality check: we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and we’re not really in control.
Think of the devastating story of last Friday when Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever. Indeed an entire country quickly experienced the “reality check on time” as that 8.9 earthquake triggered the March 11 Tsunami. Thousands of people are dead, still missing or injured.
We don’t know what will happen tomorrow and we’re not really in control.
What’s the point of this reality check?
It goes beyond a cliché; it is as Mother Teresa says…
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Let us begin.
Leadership is influence. Influence is first exerted with self, then other people. Leaders that live in the moment see the people and make the day count.
Yes, by all means continue to plan, but remember it is an illusion to think you are in charge of tomorrow. The reality check is given to help us live this day well, especially in our relationships.
The Mist of Life
Another aspect of time surfaces as the question is asked: What is life? One ancient writer in Scripture uses simple imagery to answer this question:
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
When conditions are just right there is a thin fog, a thin gray cloud of water droplets just above the ground. Once the sun comes up, it usually vanishes quickly.
That’s the thought I had while thinking about our firstborn being thirty-three years old…that wasn’t that long ago.
Leaders understand the value of time. Today is all we have, so see the people and seize the moment. Let’s begin.
Happy Birthday, Stephanie!