To start Advent off on the right foot I went to confession. To be vague-but-specific-enough – I confessed to wasting time.
I was given a penance that I am stoked about. Yes, perhaps you’d think it impossible to be excited over a penance. But I truly am. Hearing the penance gave me great joy!
The priest reminded me of what Jesus says about time in Matthew 24 “stay awake… [and] be prepared, for an hour you so not expect the Son of Man will come.” The priest said that for my penance I should pray over the value of a moment — contemplate and pray over “the value of a moment” for the whole of Advent. How beautiful!
When I got home I was smiling and Ryan asked how confession was. I told him my penance and how excited I was for it. To which he half-jokingly responded: “Whatever happened to one Our Father and one Hail Mary?”
And so it begins. I shall contemplate the value of time – the value of a moment.
- Driving home from confession this thought: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you.” – Which is Luke 12:16 about the rich man who worries about storing up his treasure on earth. My take away: Be rich in the things of God. Do not focus on material things.
- As I reflected thru out the day: How many moments do I waste on pointless things? The greatest gift I have is life. Life is a TBD number of moments. If life is so precious (which it is) then I should waste as few of my moments as possible. >> If I am more conscious of how I am spending my moments then I will live my moments better and therefore live a better life – and live it not just for myself or my family, but most importantly live it for God.
- As I lay in bed unable to sleep: The experience of a moment may not always be great. But the value of a moment is always great.
- Signed up for videos.church’s #AdventMadeSimple. You should do it too! Here: adventmadesimple.com
- If you don’t value the moment then you may miss the most meaningful ones. Nora woke up crying from a bad dream before I left for work. We snuggled for 5 minutes. Before I left she said “I love you as much as someone can love something.” When we get these moments of snuggles it is a double-edged sword – one side is the most love one can feel, the other is sadness that these moments will likely be the best ones of my day but they only last 5 minutes –the best part of my day comes in its first few minutes; the many remaining subsequent minutes of the day all pale in comparison. I am grateful though for those minutes!
Days 4 -6:
- There are many moments out of your control. So you better make the best use out of the ones that are in your control.
- I looked out my kitchen window and cars were lining up at the funeral home getting ready for a funeral. “Life is but a single breath. We flower and we fade.”
- If it were my last day alive how would I live? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing the dishes. But the dishes need to be done. So I must plan as though I’ll live tomorrow, but live as though I’ll die today. …and you think those kinds of thoughts would compel-motivate me to live my moments better, but I think I’m mostly spending them as I always spend them -not thinking of their value or limited quantity or how to live them better.
- Yesterday Nora exhausted my patience by 9:30am and by 10am I think I completely lost it. She is precious and time with her is precious, but I really struggle remembering that. Then at night I had a dream – She wanted some candy treat, I gave her a ‘no’ look, and she didn’t take the treat. Then we got on an elevator with my sister Bridgette and the elevator malfunctioned. [BTW I have a fear of elevators so this was a pure nightmare.] As I tried to strategize our hopeful survival of its ups and downs [PS. It’s the ‘ups’ that will get you.] I had the “Well this is it.” moment. Life is too short. I’m sad to die. I’m sad for Nora. I’m sad for Bridgette. I’m sad that I didn’t let Nora have that treat – why didn’t I just say ‘yes’? ….So essentially a death of fear and regrets. :: If I lived my moments right up to that point would I have had so many thoughts of fear and regret?
- The best moments of sleep I get are in between when my first alarm goes off and when the snooze alarm goes off. Why is that? They should be no different than the previous 8 hours, but I value those 9 snooze-sleep minutes so highly and enjoy them so deeply.
Before Dec 14:
- I sat next to a clock and could hear every second tick-tick-tick. “That was a moment. That was a moment. That was a moment.” If I had to be conscious of every individual moment and how quickly they pass I’m pretty sure I would quickly freak out that they kept going-happening-passing-tick-tock-tick-tock — I would focus on that fact and never get around to enjoying any of them. Being conscious of a moment and valuing a moment are very different things. I can’t have one without the other, but if I can focus on a sum of moments over individual ones I think I would value those moments and in term be more conscious of them — but in a positive-non-freak-out kind of way.
- A few nights ago I was laying in bed and my heart was racing. I had my hands on my chest and I could feel every beat-beat-beat. Usually my heart beat is light and slow, but this time it decided to race and have me know it was working. It is curious how we take our heartbeats for granted — the hearts pumps, it works nonstop, it does what it does and mostly in the background of our minds but it is a very crucial thing! If we had to constantly tell our hearts “Beat. Beat. Beat.” all our moments would only be those thoughts. But God loves us so much He made us in a way where the most crucial thing about the fact we have life does its role quietly, unconsciously, freeing us up to spend our moments however we want to. God is just like a heartbeat – He’s the most crucial thing but He gives us freedom to either be conscious or unconscious of how He is working in our lives.
Before December 25:
- I haven’t posted things, but I did spend time reflecting on the value of a moment. I just never spent moments typing them up… Here are ones I can remember:
- I found my copy of “Live Like You Were Dying” — it’s a book with a CD of the Tim McGraw song. It’s a dangerous book because it makes you want to quit your job and responsibilities and find your greater purpose. I ended up taking it into work for a co-worker — who I care about dearly and don’t want to lose as a co-worker, but maybe it’s their time? I felt called to share the book.
- As I proceeded to waste more moments watching TV instead of writing I thought “Ugh. I just wasted two hours. I wanted to be writing and instead I just sat doing nothing.” The positive take on it is that I was conscious of wasting the time — which I hope translates into me not wasting future time.
- I learned from my one friend via Facebook his wife has Stage IV cancer. My prayers are with her and them that she responds well to treatment — because not only am I sure that she wants to live for herself but also for all her young kids. She’s my age so I can’t even imagine news like that. It also had me wanting to quit my job and just spend it living better —-other than being home with Nora I’m not sure what “living it better” would entail but that would be a great start.
Summary: My Advent was blessed this year by a beautiful penance. It made me more conscious of my life and my time and how to make the most of it. Hopefully this becomes a constant in my every day. 🙂
[Photo Phootnote: One day Nora got my phone, called my Dad, and read him books over the phone — for about 1 hour. My Dad is a great example of how to live your moments. He values all the time he has with her. It amazes me. Every time they are together their moments are full of non-stop love and wonder and make believe — they live in their moments so perfectly!]