July 13, 2008

Marking Time

I am amazed at how my attitude to time has changed in the past six months since my retirement. Prior to that date, I marked time in very small increments: I had an Outlook calendar on my office PC which synched up with my Blackberry, which was with me the rest of the time. Appointments and meetings were measured in minutes, often abutting in a manner that would have made the stonemasons constructing the Jerusalem temple proud with the seemingly seamless fit. As back-up, there was my trusty watch and in emergencies, there was always the cell phone clock (which resets itself after multi time zone flight in an almost spooky manner).

Upon retirement, I was severed from the Blackberry and decided not to use Outlook calendar anymore. Radical time management change just when I had a radical change in the life to be timed. I had a period of Excel based checklists and Word based to do lists, but I got over that pretty quickly. I view it now as my halfway house approach. What do I do now? I have a manual, week at a glance type calendar. My time management has become low tech, but high touch. What few appointments I have I write in pen and cross out if cancelled or after they occur. Who is this guy?

Most amazing, there are days I don't even look at it. I usually remember where I need to be when. Most days, I don't wear a watch. I told a friend that some weeks the only way I know it is Saturday is that the store I am in seems busier than usual; the only way I know it is Sunday is that my wife takes me to church. Who is this guy? I have gone from being the NIST-F-1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock to mighty Mississippi. Yet, although the pace has slowed, my view of time is becoming longer term. I think about what I am going to be doing several years out, planning and studying for it to be Kingdom work of some sort. I know the words of Matthew 6:34 tell us about tomorrow worrying about itself and today having enough troubles of its own. I am not worrying, I am planning activity.

All in all, I like this new approach to time. I think it fits my Christian walk better than the slicing and dicing of each micro second I was indulging in. It is less about manmade rules and regulations and more about time flowing as God intended. I do not think in eternity terms as often as I should, but I am working on it. This pace seems more about God than it does about me. More like the concept of a day being a thousand years, but a thousand years a day. I like the way it fits me. Never would have imagined this a year ago.

Who was that guy?


ryan said...

I'm glad to see that you've freed yourself from the need to plan everything out. I seem to still suffer from this syndrome.
I was reading recently (in that Revolutionary Communicator book that you and I had discussion about). The authors made the point that Jesus was very flexible. He went where He was needed and took the necessary time wherever He went. In short, He was never really "put out" by having to go and help someone. That's really hard for me, but a great challenge that our time is not really our own and if it is spent (as Ross taught today) bringing glory to God, then we shouldn't worry so much about our own schedule going off-course.

Andy C said...

Ryan, trust me, this didn't come easy, even with all the time pressure retirement took off me. And it is still a journey I am on. I have a long way to go to match the Master.