Monday, September 7, 2009

Making the minutes count...not counting the minutes

How many times, while waiting for something special to happen in your life, have you told someone, "I'm counting the minutes until...?" We've all done it. Lately, though, I'm wondering if we're not thinking of time in the wrong way. Maybe instead of letting it pass to get to whatever event we're excited about, we should be focusing on making all of those lost minutes count.

Just yesterday, I was having my usual Sunday morning breakfast with a friend, who happens to be a minister. He was telling me that a friend had just suggested to him that he write an article for a publication he much admires. His response? "Where would I find the time?"

That conversation reminded me yet again that we all make time for the things that matter to us. If we shrug off an opportunity with the excuse that there's no time, it's because we're just not that interested in doing it.

Every single one of us leads a busy life. We have work and family obligations. We have things we enjoy doing, whether it's watching sports on TV or gardening or reading. We have the little things we've agreed to do for a committee at church or school. But when it comes to those extra commitments, sometimes the ones that matter most, we seize on just how busy we are to excuse ourselves from taking on more.

I recall years ago hearing the adage that if you want something done, ask a busy person. It's because the busiest among us have learned to organize their lives, to fit in what matters. I thought of this again in watching the coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy's death, or, more importantly, his life. Listening to his sons talk about how he was there for them, listening to the Massachusetts families who'd lost a loved one in 9/11, talk about how he'd reached out to them and kept in touch, and listening to school children in Washington, DC talk about their friend who came to school on his lunch hour to read with them, I realized all the ways in which he made time for the things that were important.

My schedule is far less cluttered than Senator Kennedy's. It may even be less cluttered than yours. There are minutes and probably hours in there that could be put to better use helping a child to read or comforting a sick child in a hospital or any of a hundred other things that really matter. I just have to readjust my thinking and stop counting those minutes until the special events, and making all those little minutes count.

How about you? Are there things you've said no to doing that would make your life richer, or maybe the life of someone else? Think about it next time someone offers you an opportunity to help. Better yet, go out and find that opportunity.


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