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Measuring Time by Opportunities, Not by the Clock

One of the louder virtues in American culture is efficiency. It's what makes the clock of capitalism tick. We are remarkably skilled at getting things done, at thinking "yes, we can," and then putting forth our best effort to accomplish many tasks in a short time. Often efficiency serves us well. But this way of valuing time can tick-tock into our worldview, leading us to measure everything by the stopwatch. Time: we march against it, beat it, save it, manage it, spend it, and try not to kill it or waste it. If efficiency becomes a dictator instead of a servant, generosity is usually oppressed. We feel we must fill days with industrious busyness.

When my daughters were young, I too frequently bemoaned how little time I could give to writing. One friend said, "Your girls will only be toddlers once. Don't worry so much about being productive." Another friend gestured to my daughters and said, "Spence, here are your publications!" These friends encouraged me to view time…by the opportunity presented, time according to what the season calls for. Time well used…is time that appropriately meets the needs of the moment, not…time measured by the demands of the clock.

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