Recently, an interesting thing happened to me when I found myself with too much time on my hands. I
t began with a slight blurriness in my right eye. When the doctor examined my eyes, he said, “It doesn’t look good. You have a hole in your retina and we have to operate as soon as possible. It’s something that can’t wait. It won’t hurt.”
“Okay, let me know when,” I said.
Then the doctor informed me, “Oh by the way after the operation, you will have to lie flat on your stomach with your face down for seven days with your head in a donut apparatus. You must not lift your head only for a few minutes a day. You have to do this if the operation is going to be successful. We will put a gas ball in your eye and you will have to stay at a lower altitude for two weeks.”
I’ve never had too much time. This is when panic set in.
“I don’t think I can do that. I’ve never done anything like that before.”
My family backed my claim, “Mother, you won’t be able to do it, you are always doing something. Your mind is always going. I can already see another article coming, ‘An artist living in her own mind, going crazy’ or ‘An artist loses her eyesight!’ I don’t know which is worse?”
Yes, I was going to be living in my mind for seven days without any distractions such as TV, painting, reading or writing, I can see it now. I will be in a room by myself, left alone to my own thinking. So how am I going to face all this empty time looking through a hole into empty space?
Do we know how to master too much or too little time?
“Time crouches and purrs and licks their hands,” say A. W. Tozer to the ones who have mastered time. We should be petting time like a docile pet instead of being cornered by a devouring beast.
Time corners us and we let it. Since we live our lives in time, space and motion, maybe we are occupying too much space and causing too much motion with our time. What I mean by that is we fill our time with so much stuff we can’t do all we want to do and crowd out the things we must do. That is when the ugly beast comes in and we say,’“I am worn out and I don’t have enough time.”
As creative people we spend a lot of time talking about our next project. Doing it doesn’t take as much time as talking about it. I know because I hear it from my artist and writer friends and I’ve experienced it myself.
I am happy to report that I made it through the ordeal with flying colors and lots of good tapes. If you need a caregiver, Al, my husband, is the one. Everything I thought was going to happen didn’t and other things did.
After two weeks away from home, I was antsy to get back to writing columns, painting and picking up speed again. Why do we keep so busy? Is it because we are afraid to face ourselves; the fear of all the head games or afraid we might miss something? There are hundreds of reasons why time threatens us. It is a toothless beast, but we believe the lies.
So what is the answer? A.W. Tozer says about time and an infinite God, “How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. For Him time does not pass, it remains … God never hurries, there are no deadlines against which he must work. God’s infinitude belongs to us and is made known to us for our everlasting profit.”
We are provided with all the time we need. The thing I am learning about myself is that I do not trust the infinite God who has already planned my days and life. And when I get frustrated because I feel like it has taken a lifetime for me to learn something I have to remember there is no deadline with God. The fact that I learned it is more than enough.
Final brushstroke: Is time crouching and purring and licking my hand? No, but I am ready to say, “Here kitty, kitty.”
Love your column. Sure get a kick out of some of them.
Artist quote: “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” — Napoleon Hill, author.