On Friday I had a lot of cleaning, tidying, and other odd jobs to do around the house. I'm the kind of person who can easily balk at the enormity of a task and instead go sit on the couch and eat chips while watching the Big Bang Theory so I needed a way to tackle the tasks. Borrowing an idea from the Liturgy of the Hours I broke up my day with the help of a stopwatch.
I worked for 50 minutes and then prayed for 10. No matter where I was in the task - half way through scrubbing a kitchen tile, mid-sentence in an important email, when the stopwatch beeped. I left the mop where it was and sat down on the couch to pray.
Sometimes the stopwatch beep was a blessing - I'm not the kind of person who enjoys cleaning.
Sometimes the stopwatch beep was a curse - It seemed to beep at the precise moment when I had almost crafted a perfect sentence. Stepping away from the keyboard to go pray felt an imposition.
Sometimes the stopwatch beep took an eternity to arrive.
Sometimes the stopwatch beep was a surprise.
There were times it felt I had only just settled into prayer when it was time to rise and work again.
At other times the 10 minutes of prayer felt longer than the 50 minutes of floor scrubbing.
I found myself wondering whether I was spending the day working with breaks for prayer, or spending the day praying with breaks for work.
By the middle of the afternoon I found myself settling into the rhythm of the day. My attitude to the tasks that needed to be done shifted and they began to become as prayerful as the times of prayer. The stopwatch was no longer a blessing or a curse, it was simply something I chose to surrender too. It was a beep that reminded me of the presence of God.
We save time and we waste time. We treat it as a resource that we need to manage.
On Friday the passing of time became a sacrament - an outward and visible sign of God's grace. Eventually I didn't need the stopwatch to remind me to pray, the simple awareness that time was passing all around me was a reminder that God was all around me.
God waits with us in the here and now.
Every second.....is a call to awareness.
Every minute..... an invitation to listen.
Every hour..... an outpouring of grace.
The clock and the calendar reveal God as surely as the bread and the cup.