image by Rachael O’Connell
Medical Student in Arizona

How will you choose to spend our time this year?

TIME

Time is now. And only for the choosing.
It’s not how much you have, but how you’re spending.
When you think you’re saving up, you’re losing.
Not a river dammed for later using.

She runs to waste, or brings to life, depending.
Time is now. And only for the choosing.
Not money banked, security pursuing.
The richest life is fragile — snap! It’s ending.

When you think you’re saving up, you’re losing.
Not for neglect, too many abusing.
Yours will count for hurting or for mending.
Time is now. And only for the choosing.

Though it seems fast then slow, flying then cruising,
Time is, in fact, a steadiness unending.
When you think you’re saving up, you’re losing.
As it comes, must be spent, no reusing.

Living in the future, rules not bending!
Time is now. And only for the choosing.
When you think you’re saving up, you’re losing.

image by Stephan Martinez
Prison Inmate in Texas

A young wife and mother of three, recently wrote –

As for the poem, "Time," it really spoke to me in regards to using time wisely. (Bekah Krause, Medifee, CA)

The Back Story – 

(from The Grace of Rain)

The poem, Time, came from a walk down an airport runway, a revisiting of my adolescent identity as “a car guy” and a challenge from a friend to write a villanelle.* 

I love the uniqueness of where I live. Years ago, when all our children had left the nest, my wife and I decided to downsize and move a bit further out of the city. While driving the neighborhoods south of town in search of a new home, a “For Sale by Owner” sign caught my eye. The most curious thing about the sign was how the description of the property ended with the phrase “…runway and railroad access.”

For the past eight years, I have often enjoyed going to sleep to the rhythmic hum of an iron horse locomotive passing by.

One of the numerous advantages of my much-coveted runway and railroad access is the ability to take long, leisurely walks for thinking, musing and listening to God.

Early one evening, I headed out my back gate. A couple of properties down, along the edge of the grass runway, I found myself admiring a very large garage/hanger. A familiar thought was conjuring in my mind. If only, I had a garage that big. Wow! What a car project I would have. All of my old dreams of restoring a late 60’s or early 70’s British sports car came flooding back in a flash. I was mentally back in high school again.

The next thing that caught my eye brought me back to the present and to the peace of who I truly am. There, in the next yard, was a late 70’s model Camaro, sitting neglected in waist-high yellow grass. This was undoubtedly another car guy’s dream project, waiting for space in a garage—the victim of adult realities, not enough money or, more likely, the illusion of not enough free TIME. 

The sight of the car provoked a serious of questions I have entertained all my life. Not, What can I do based on the space, money and time that I have? But, What do I choose to do with those things, especially, with my limited time? It’s less a matter of what I have, but more about what I value. Yes, I enjoy the car fantasies. When I think of being that guy, with the cool car, I feel fantastic. But what in my life, now, would I give up or trade to actually have that car? Nothing. The peace that comes with the awareness of what I have or do not have is my choice, is quite a gift.

God reminded me that what I value, I choose. It’s who I am—who He’s called me to be—and that is enough. 

The Two Images –

These two drawings, from two different artists, were inspired by two other poems in The Grace of Rain, not TIME. But I chose them to accompany this poem because, for me, they illustrate much of what I hear through this piece. Which of the two speaks most to you?

The Poem’s Form –

* What is a Villanelle?

A villanelle is a poem that follows this pattern – 19 lines, 6 stanzas (5 with 4 lines and the last with 3), Line 1 repeating as line 6, 12 & 18 and Line 3 repeating as line 9, 15 & 19, Line 2’s ending must rhyme with the ending of lines 5, 8, 11 & 14, and all the remain line endings must rhyme with line 1. Quite a fun challenge from a friend. Thanks for the challenge, Rebekah Choat.