Just a Matter of Time

Terri Lynn Schump

A place for everything
and everything in its place.
As true for time
as is for space.

I am in perpetual pursuit of the perfect schedule.

You know the one I’m talking about. The one that allows you to get a good night’s sleep . . . and spend time with the Lord when you wake up . . . and eat right and exercise your way into a slim, trim, healthy body . . . and clean house, do yard work, manage the money, make the menu, do the shopping, the laundry, the dishes . . . and be involved in your local community, your local charities, your local church . . and indulge in friendships, hobbies, and that stack of books you want to read . . . and (because you realize that after thirty years, you still love the guy) set aside long, lazy Sunday afternoons to spend with your husband.
Sometimes, I think I’m getting closer to that elusive creature, the perfect schedule. Just this spring, it seemed I could almost touch it. I spent the winter trying to carve out more time to write. I reviewed priorities, rearranged commitments, and refined lots of little life hacks to save time, effort, and money.

As March blew into April and April grew into May, I knew that if I changed this one little thing here, and rearranged that other thing over there, I could almost fit it all in. I was so close, so close, so . . .
And then June came along, and the summer just exploded!

It’s not possible
Success is
doing the RIGHT THING
at the RIGHT TIME..

The kids counted down the days until school was out, and suddenly I had my arms full of grandbabies. Not really babies anymore. My grandson is twelve and my granddaughter is almost ten. But as I often tell them, they’ll always be my babies.

My carefully crafted schedule was blown out of the water. But I can’t say I minded much. As a matter of fact, it was an answer to prayer.

After lamenting the lack of time with two of my favorite people all through the school year, I was more than willing to set aside my own plans for the opportunity to romp through the summer with them—a summer full of fun activities, teachable moments, and memorable experiences. We hope. Walking the creek, going to the library or the park, visiting the zoo or the Discovery Center, and splashing the pool So many interesting things to do! Or maybe just hanging out together in the cool basement on a ninety-nine-degree day.

I don’t have the grandbabies all the time. Just enough for it to be fun without wearing me out—too much. Just enough to keep us enjoying each other’s company without getting on each other’s nerves—too much. Just enough to make my previous plan obsolete—completely.

Some things I still get done, just in a different way. I get my exercise by going swimming with the kiddos. Instead of big blocks of solid writing time, I do what I call guerilla writing – jumping into the creative melee whenever the opportunity presents itself. Those lazy Sunday afternoons with my husband are non-negotiable, but now we’re sometimes napping through them.

Some things I still get done, just more slowly. Sure, there are pool toys and wet towels and snack packages strewn around the house on Monday. But they’re usually pretty much picked up by Tuesday or Wednesday. The sink fills with dishes we have neither the time nor inclination to do, but I get around to them when things wind down. Projects and papers litter the large table downstairs, but we spend some of each visit playing summer school, so that’s okay. The paper piles ebb and flow. They’ll get cleaned up. Eventually.

Some things, however, simply had to go. Certain writing projects will wait until September. I’m not doing a vegetable garden this year. Lunches with the ladies are fewer and farther between. My friends will see more of me when the kids go back to school.

There are only so many hours in a day. There’s no possible way to do it all, so we must make choices. And each choice says something about what we consider most important, about who we consider most important. Time is one of our most valuable commodities. Lord, help us to invest it wisely!
Because it’s just a matter of time until those kids are gone.

The season for growing children is achingly short. It may not seem so the first time around, but take it from someone who has seen the season end. Cherish the chaos. Live for the moment. Seize the day. Because it’s also just a matter of time until age robs us of the strength and energy to do the things we used to take for granted. Just a matter of time until our time on earth has ended and our plans and schedules and to-do lists are done. One day we will step into eternity, and I believe we’ll realize then that the summers we spent working and playing alongside the little ones in our lives were pretty perfect after all.

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1


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