Time is of the essence

By August 15, 20112011, Europe

“Time is of the essence”: this old legal phrase has somehow passed into our common speech to mean that time is important, and that we must make the most of it. Yet it still carries its original sense of hastening to fulfill some requirement as well. Time was of the essence in Europe. We moved from one place to another within days – each place containing experiences and treasures that could only happen there – at that time. Our ordinary every-day time was funneled onto the fast moving train of ever present activity. That is what it seemed like at times. But our leaders often reminded us of the need to take time to be, of the necessity of quiet alone-time. Those times taken – whether intentionally or provided by circumstance -were vital. Literally. They were life-giving. They were often the place where “the peace that passes understanding” could start to unravel the masses of emotion and experiences that had built up on the inside. Time is a medium we exist within, but we miss its essence if we stick to the consumer mode of measuring and using it to our own satisfaction; operating on the fear that it might run out. But time is not valuable for its length or amount; it is precious because it provides the moments where we meet with God, with others, with our own selves. It is the richness of our lives that determines the value of our time. The requirement we must hasten to fulfill, the goal we reach for, whether that is the richest experience for each European city, or seeking to “walk humbly with our God” is much more easily lost if we hurry through time or stretch it on the canvas of our self-determined schedule. This is something from the Europe trip that I will need to keep learning long after I hand in my final papers.



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