I surprised myself the other day by saying to someone “There is no such thing as “wasted time”.” I don’t why I said it, but it is worth thinking about. I suppose what I meant is that any experience might be useful, if we are willing to be mindful in it. One of the reasons that I don’t watch television very much is that there just seems to be so much else to do. However, over Christmas I ended up watching a couple of films and actually really enjoying them. I had finally relaxed enough to sit still and let my mind soak up the plot, however unlikely it was. True, I could have engaged in more “worthy” pursuits, but it was actually what my body and brain probably needed – to go into neutral for a bit and just chill.
Sometimes at the end of a work day, I am a little frustrated. I had a whole list of things to do, but God or technology had other plans. The printer decided not to print or a pastoral situation arose which took priority over my nicely ordered day. It is always worth taking stock on days like these. What are the things that really mattered? Did I actually make a difference to someone? It is very easy to get into a mindset where some things are “important” or are “proper work” and other things are not. I learned a good lesson about this once and it is a lesson worth re-visiting every so often. I had been travelling a great deal for work and finally had a weekend at home. I was desperate to finish decorating the kitchen and was trying to assemble and then varnish a set of shelves. All weekend long, it seemed family members kept dropping in and I became increasingly grouchy at being interrupted. Finally, my longsuffering wife came in and said “You can varnish those shelves any time you like, but you will never get this day with the grandchildren again. “ Time with children and family, time with friends, time with God is never wasted time. Enjoy the time that God has given you this week.