This morning my husband made an interesting observation. We were busy in the bustle of trying to get ready to leave the house to go to church (someday I’m sure I’ll understand why this is such a Herculean effort that takes an inordinate amount of time!) and reminding our children to stay on task and get ready before they got distracted with other play. Of course, as children sometimes do, they ignored our encouragement so that when it was time to leave they ran disheveled from their play still needing to find their shoes, ask for help untying their laces, comb their hair, find their jackets, find the socks of the little ones, etc. Obviously it was time to leave and we couldn’t leave as a family because they had left things undone. We all stayed together and found our missing items, which, as usual, made us late to church.
Sometimes this happens on other days when a little one is promised a trip to the store with mom or dad, but their preparation is put off; they are too busy playing to find their shoes or jacket or money or whatever it is they need, but in this case they find themselves left behind because they weren’t ready. My husband wisely observed that this is like our Christian faith, the belief that Christ will return to earth and, as He says in Matthew: “But as the days of (Noah)… so shall also the coming of the Son of man be… they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage… and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Matt. 24:37-41) Basically my husband was saying we needed to remember to not be like our children and be busy doing what God asks instead of waiting until it is too late.
It made me think of other things in my life that I am always putting off until later. I really need to finish this Netflix series, then I’ll work on writing that novel. Or, I know I need to reach out and get to know this neighbor but there’s never a good time, I’ll try this weekend. Or how about I know there are refugees needing assistance but I’m too busy right now, I’ll look into it next month. And one I’m sure we’ve all done, Saving for retirement is super important, we’re putting a little away, we’ll take care of that when things settle down for us financially. What I realized when I looked at our kids playing the morning away instead of being prepared is that later, or next week or next month never seem to come, they just get pushed out exponentially. Later, next week, next month or next year turn into nothing more than excuses to delay what we KNOW we should be doing. And ultimately, in one way or another, a reckoning comes, when it’s go-time and we’re not ready. So what things are you delaying that could ultimately be too late? Preparing for a rainy day? You could lose your job next week, what would you do? Mending a relationship? Providing restitution for someone you’ve wronged? Just telling someone ‘I love you’ because you know you need to say it?
Everyone has something they delay, I have a laundry list of them, but watching my kids is teaching me to work first and be prepared. (They’re also teaching me to play more because they get so much more joy out of life just by being and moving and experiencing, but that’s a post for another day.) I don’t want to put something important off only to find I’ve wasted time with things I thought made me happy when what will really make me happy is to be ready: to mend that relationship, to say ‘I love you,’ to save for a rainy day, to help my community. Even though I instinctively fight against it, WORKING actually makes me happy, it’s a universal principle. And thank goodness it’s not too late… right???