I don't go to church as often as I should - I'll admit it. I've gone a few times since my diagnosis but in large part avoided the close confines of mass, especially during chemo. It was too risky to challenge my immune system with sharing peace with my neighbours. And it seems like someone near me always has a nasty, phlegmy, hacking cough.
Excuses, I know. The truth of the matter is, I have a strong faith but when it comes to actually getting to church I tend to be more of a Chr-Easter Catholic. And yet, I'm not sure why. I love being at church. I love the hymns. I love the quiet reflection. I love how I feel when mass is done. And above all, I love the homilies.
Our Priest is a quiet man. When talking to him he seems shy, unsure, he tends to trip over his words. I don't know if he writes his own homilies or if there is some Priest homily writing book he gets these things from but he tells the best stories that tie right in with the Gospel reading for the day. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they're sad, sometimes quite serious. And 99% of the time I can find a direct link from these stories to my own life.
Yesterday Father told a story about a young man talking to his mom on the phone. The mom tells him that an elderly neighbour died. The mom reminds her son of how he'd spent endless hours at the man's house as a youngster, after his own father had died. The man had taught him carpentry and now this young man owned a carpentry business.
After the funeral the woman and her son went to to the man's house. He'd never married and had no children of his own so it was a small reception. The young man noticed everything in the house was exactly as he remembered it, save for a gold box that used to sit locked on the man's desk. As a boy he would often ask the man what was in this box and the man always replied, "The thing that's most important to me." Now, he would never know what was in that box.
Several weeks later a packaged arrived for the young man. In it was the gold box and a key. The old man had left instructions to forward it to the young man upon his death. He opened the box to find a gold watch. The watch was engraved "Thank you for your time"
What had been most important to this old man had been the time he'd spent with the young man as a boy.
It really made me think about my own life and the time I spend with my family and friends.
One of the things I had been worried about going back to work was if I had a recurrence of cancer that I'd feel as though I wasted time I could have spent with my family at work. The truth of the matter is, I'm losing time with Sean because he has to work nights but I think what's more important is the quality of the time we're spending together, not the quantity. It's all well and good if we spend 16 hours together in a day but if we're ignoring each other in front of the TV for 14 of it.....
well, you get the point.
I see time differently now. I see how important it is - to value, to not waste. I'm 38 years old and while that is but a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, I already feel like I've had a long life. I'd like to have at least another 38 years but I don't have any idea what He's got planned for me. And because I've got this new perspective I don't want to waste a single minute of it.
Don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean I'm not going to spend an hour or two kegged out in front of the TV or online while my kids play their video games and Sean watches Top Gear. But I'm making more quality time for all of us.
And thank you, for taking the time to visit with me today.