When the clock’s hands both landed on the 12, I almost missed it.
No raucous party took place here at Mama’s Empty Nest on New Year’s Eve. Instead we enjoyed a simple, quiet evening of relaxation after weeks of busyness.
The Christmas season didn’t add to the hustle and bustle at our house because we devoted hours upon hours of our free time to help our daughter and grandchild prepare to move into their new home.
Renovate, remodel, redecorate. Wallpaper stripping, painting, repairing, and updating the older house she purchased occupied much of our time. Finally, her move-in date arrives this week if all goes according to plan.
Because we have worked on her house for about six weeks now, we all needed some respite time so on that last day of December, we decided to rest. But we did manage to stay awake until 12 o’clock when 2019 arrived.
However, we almost missed the New Year’s entrance at midnight. Engrossed in reading a book, I didn’t notice that the magic hour neared. Absorbed in watching several episodes of Cadfael, Papa also wasn’t watching the clock. Little One was conked out sound asleep, and Middle Daughter rested after a busy hospital shift.
Midnight was approaching in just a matter of a minute or so when our daughter asked, “Aren’t we going to watch the ball drop?”
Papa hurriedly switched over to a station broadcasting from Times Square and we managed to see the countdown.
Time had gotten away from us and even though we were awake, we almost missed the big event. But time marches on with or without us.
“Time is what we want most, but… what we use worst.” ~William Penn
Since my sixth grade graduation, I’ve been bound by time. That’s when I received my first wrist watch – one that had to be wound every night to continue running – as a gift from my parents. And for all of those years that followed since I was 12, I’ve strapped a watch onto my left wrist every single morning.
Over the years, when one watch stopped working, I immediately attained another one, trading wind-up ones for battery operated ones. And when the batteries ran out, I scurried to acquire a new one because I felt lost without my watch.
Those timepieces on my arm kept me going, kept me on schedule. I glanced at my watch several times a day and at night through high school, college, my working career, and into my days as a stay at home mom.
In a way, my wristwatch dictated my life, showing me when it was time to eat, time to go to bed, time to go to work and time to return back home, time to arrive at an appointment, time to get the kids ready for school, time to attend this meeting or that one, time to drive kids to sports practices and time to pick them up, time for church, time to get busy with whatever task was at hand.
A couple of months ago, the battery died in my trusty wristwatch – the gift from Papa that I’ve worn for many years now – and I haven’t replaced the battery yet. And I’m not certain if I will.
After 50-some years of wearing a wristwatch, my arm felt a bit naked at first. But now I’m becoming accustomed to not having a watch, not having to constantly glance at it to see what time it is.
Being watch-less proved to be one reason why I didn’t notice midnight approached on New Year’s Eve. But in this season of my life, knowing exactly what time it is isn’t as important to me. Oh, I still have schedules to follow because I watch my grandchild while her mama works, but my time isn’t as constrained as it once was.
After so many years of busyness, I am content to be still. I am content to use my time in a less ordered fashion. And as a new year unfolds before me, I want to spend more time delving into reading and contemplating God’s Word.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10
To do so, I must be still. I must make good use of whatever time God has granted to me. With a watch or without it.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey McKay