Sunday, August 08, 2010

Flying Time

My flight plan from Malaysia to Cincinnati couldn't have been more streamlined: Kuala Lumpur to Paris to Cincinnati. Except for leaving Paris late, all went very smoothly. Thirteen hours plus nine hours in the air.

Plowing through all the accumulated mail after being gone seven weeks is quite a task. Taking care of urgent bills takes more time. And balancing the checkbook? Just a dim memory. Then there’s the detritus in suitcases after traveling to two countries with the accompanying miscellaneous shopping. Putting away the clean clothes and dropping the others down the laundry chute was the simplest part of unpacking.

So yesterday morning I finally got to my yard. Steve, Kelsey, and Stephen had done a great job of keeping everything watered and alive, but all needed to be watered again and there were weeds to pull and deadheads to remove. Three of my eight hardy ferns in the back yard have yellowed and shriveling fronds, so I suspect that some local animal has been using them as a toilet. My basil is flourishing (and nowhere near the ferns), so I’ll get to have lots of basil on tomatoes and in salads right away.

But to my dismay, as I was working, I saw a golden leaf flutter to the ground. Looking around, I realized that our borderline maple tree (I’m not sure if it’s ours or the next door neighbor’s) is shedding its leaves all over the back corner of our yard!

“How did this happen?” I even said aloud. I was shocked. The last time I worked in my yard, little green shoots of plants were popping up, full of the promise of summer. Now signs of fall were here and I was not ready for that. I know it was officially spring when I left on June 14, but it’s still officially summer, as well. We’re certain to have another six weeks of warm to hot weather, so the leaves are supposed to stay green and stick tight for a while longer.

And as I mulled this over, I thought of other parts of my life that seem to slip by too quickly. There are many people who need my help and encouragement, but I’m too preoccupied with putting away my stuff, and cooking for my friends and family, and shopping for gifts for my loved ones, and getting in my physical and spiritual exercise times. I understand how often I use the word "my." It's appalling how narrow my circle of activity can be.

And that time is slipping away just as quickly as summer. How can I be more proactive to use my time for others? Last week I thought I’d have more time this week. Now I’m thinking it will have to be the next week.

My friends Linda and Lynette are having surgeries tomorrow, and I’d like to be there. But my children and grandchildren will be here for dinner this night only, and I want to shop and cook for them and pick them up at the airport, so how can I fit everything in? I think of pillars of the faith that I’ve read about—those who said they couldn’t get everything done if they didn’t spend two (or four or five) hours in prayer for preparation. Dare I try spending more time in prayer? Not this week, except in my car as I take care of all these errands. Maybe next week, Lord. Keep reminding me.

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