Friday, November 6, 2009

Learning from my living room...

My favorite chair rests in a corner, beneath a window on one wall and a mirror on the other. The chair’s deep cushions and wide arms make it the perfect spot for reading, relaxing, watching a game. I love the big chair. But, the best feature of the big chair has nothing to do with its construction or its coziness. From the big chair, there is no clock.

When I sit in the big chair, the clock in the living room is hidden from my perspective. Sometimes this fact makes me even more time-conscious; unable to keep tabs on the ticking, I fret that as I sit there the day is “getting away from me.” Yet, when I really allow the chair to work its magic, on a lazy Friday or Saturday morning, I get swept up into clock-free living. When I really allow myself to relax, to truly sink in to the chair, the clock matters not at all.

I, like so many others, rush through much of life. My calendar dictates my freedoms and often those freedoms are few. True, my work schedule is as flexible as a Romanian gymnast, yet even in the midst of such flexibility I find little freedom to let time slow down around me.

I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, yet, most days I pay little heed to the glistening of the late-afternoon sun spilled across the ocean and allow no time to take in the mountain peaks standing, almost defiant, in shades of mocha and evergreen, cast against a sky so deep blue that it seems intent on mimicking the neighboring ocean.

My great fear, as I consider my clock-consumed life, is not that I will go through life ignorant of the breathtaking natural beauty around me—although that would qualify as tragedy—but that the way I live allows me little time to truly love well. Not surprisingly, the example of Jesus challenges me in this.

During Jesus’ ministry, an important official came to him, pleading for the Messiah to come visit his sick daughter, teetering on the edge of death. The Son of Man obliged, until he didn’t. On the way, a woman who had sought him out for healing thrust herself into his path, into his schedule, and into the desperate father’s story. In the midst of a legitimate, time-crunch crisis (at least from one perspective), Jesus stopped. He stopped and listened. He stopped and listened and healed. He stopped and listened and healed and blessed this woman for her faith. Then he moved on. Despite the demands of the seemingly urgent, Christ refused to let the clock dictate when and where he would show compassion.

And once the Great Physician reached the father’s house, he showed his stubborn rejection of the clock yet again. Already told that his presence was no longer necessary, that the girl had died, that he was, ironically, “too late,” Christ responded to the cynical hearts of the scoffers with more compassion. The Lord of time and space, it seems, has little need to be confined by time and space.

The chair in the corner reminds me of all this; of my refusal to slow down and enjoy where God has placed me, of Christ’s example of more, of my need to live —if even for a fleeting moment or two—as if the clock didn’t reign supreme and take the time to bless the life of another. So, even though life doesn’t allow me to spend all of my time in my chair, I hope to live all of life as though sitting in that corner, in its easy embrace.