There is a gospel song that says: Don’t you wait for a hearse to take you to church. You go on and take yourself. Time waits for no one. Buju Banton goes on to ask in “Destiny”: Why waste the time of The Most High?
I can’t think of a more perfect phrase as I prepare to wrap up 2010 and ready myself for the blessings, experiences, challenges, and growth of 2011. I look back and think about all the time I wasted. Oh yes, I have wasted time. And that has become the single most transgression for which I seek forgiveness. For myself. For my spirit. For my time.
For 12 long years, I was the woman in the bible with the ‘issue of blood’. Except that my issue wasn’t the life-giving sustenance of blood, it was the life sucking parasite of depression. Depression whose roots stretched back through time, through accomplishments, through failures, through holidays, through birthdays, through graduations, through weddings, through the birth of three children, through the transitional deaths of beloved family members. Through jobs and friendships, broken relationships, exciting trips, hobbies, new careers.
I didn’t know if my life was unique, as if I were having a Job-ian experience, or if my life would consist of me seeking the proverbial silver lining. I thought perhaps life is a series of disappointments punctuated by fleeting moments of happiness. Or perhaps it is happiness that is overshadowed by disappointments. I didn’t know, but I knew that I just didn’t want to play anymore.
When I’m confused or hurt about something, I talk it out. And over the years, I’ve had many ears that have listened to me, and some who understood and heard my cries through my tears, through my anger. A friend once told me that everyone has a story to tell. A book that I read reminded me that though we all have story that’s been written, we can rewrite the story everyday. I never thought of it like that. All these years I sought to erase and undo the mistakes written on the pages of my life when all I had to do was rewrite the next line.
I say all that to say that the time we spend enslaved to our past is time we can never get back. My point in all of this is to say that life is for the living. Live your life while you can. Make joy the MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE of your emotional well-being, and let it enhance every experience you have. Let laughter ring a little louder when you hear it. Close your eyes and relish the scent of a batch of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. See the color purple around you, and know that it is vibrant and reflecting just for you. Feel the cool tickle of lush spring grass on the bottom of your feet as you walk barefoot across your frond yard. Wrap your arms around the body lying next to you if you have a lover, or embrace a child and squeeze gently to soak up the love. Hear the majesty in a bird’s song, and dispense your sense of self when you take that first bite into a sweet, succulent clementine orange, imagining you are each and every one of your taste buds registering a separate frequency of LIFE.
When you are depressed, you don’t notice any of that. Each day is a whiter shade of pale. A brighter shade of gray. You never quite feel ALIVE. And that is the true tragedy of wasting time.
During this time of year, the world celebrates various traditions that honor LIFE. For many, Christmas is the Birth of Christ. For others, it is the triumph of the Winter Solstice. In ancient times, Saturnalia was a bacchanalian celebration where the participants again engaged in sensorial celebration of their ability to experience life.
Bishop T.D. Jakes preached about repositioning your life so that you don’t waste any more of your time. If time is money, and money symbolizes wealth, then when you waste time, you waste money, and you waste your wealth. How much have you wasted?
I hope someone read this and decides that for the rest of the time that they have, that they will live life abundantly. Live it out loud. There are so many people with terminal diseases who would gladly live their life in that shade of gray if it meant being able to be around their loved ones for just a little while longer. Still others would prefer to enter the next world on a final HOORAH!
There are women and men who live a hell of war, oppression, murder, violence, and inequity in every form, in every way, every day. They would love to be jobless yet have a home to come home to everyday. They would love to eat what we toss out when we dine out at restaurants, spending money on dishes we could have prepared at home. Little girls would love to go to school in a building in need of renovation, because it means they are at least going to school. Little boys who would love to play ball in a field without worrying about falling shrapnel or bombs exploding overhead. Mother’s who would gladly stay home with their children because it means they are not begging in the street for food so that everybody goes to bed only a little hungry instead of ravenously hungry.
I say to you, dear friends, to make the most of your time everyday! Be actively engaged in your life. Celebrate in your joy, and learn from your disappointments. And with both, move on. Keep moving, keep living, keep breathing, keep trying.
Don’t die on your mountain. Don’t give up when you reach the top. Enjoy the view, spread your wings, and fly to the next one!
I’ll see you amongst the clouds, in time…on time…AS TIME!