>It was one of those mornings.
I needed to be out of the house by nine-thirty and every minute, from the time my alarm went off at quarter to seven till I was out the door, was planned with exactness. In order to do everything that needed to be done, there was not a moment to spare for e-mail checking, fancy breakfasts, or jump-roping (you know — the normal morning rituals).
So I have no idea how I found myself on my knees at eight-thirty with sopping hair and one sock on, vigorously scrubbing away at a large tan stain on my bedroom carpet.
Loreal’s True Match Foundation may claim “superblend-ability,” “precise match,” and “perfect coordination,” but they obviously weren’t talking about the tone and texture of my carpet. I had no idea how resilient the makeup was — to water, soap, wash cloths, and significant elbow grease. I could fall into a washing machine and Loreal would have me covered.
Bad news for the carpet. Bad news for my schedule too. And all because I was too much in a hurry to screw the cap on carefully, and to look where I was putting my feet. So there I knelt, scrubbing against the clock, knowing any plans for the morning were a lost cause. I barely made it out the door with both socks on. As for make-up? I couldn’t bear to look at the stuff.
In case you think I often have days like this…well, you’re right, I do. It would seem the more hurried I am, when time is of an essence, the more prone to time-consuming mishaps I am. And that silly old cliche that “haste makes waste” rings in my ears like a forboding grandfather clock while I scurry myself into a frenzy.
More is wasted in hurry than half a bottle of foundation. I’m busily typing away at an essay due this afternoon when Elizabeth sleepily walks into the kitchen and begins pouring a bowl of cereal. “Good morning,” she mumbles groggily. “Morning,” I reply quickly and then intently lean in toward my laptop so she knows I’m not available for conversation.
“Becky, can you come practice this duet with me?” Jenny calls from the piano, accenting her words with a few chords. “I need to leave for class right now” I yell over my shoulder as I swing open the garage door. “Maybe when I get back.”
We are on our way home from church on one of the first sunny days of the new year. “Wouldn’t it be nice to take a long walk this afternoon?” Mom comments pleasantly. My head immediately shoots up. “No, I’ve got way too much to do.” My voice sounds harsher than I intend and the conversation is cut short.
“Becky, come sit with me a moment. I want to show you something.” I poke my head into the living room and lift up the stack of textbooks in my arms. “Yes Daddy what is it? I’ve only got a minute.”
Hurry, hurry, hurry. Sometimes it’s the mantra of my life. I’ve got my treadmill set at exactly what I can handle and nothing or no one is going to trip me up. But at that furried pace, I trip over words without considering their impact; I spill out frustration on those who least deserve it; I blow off opportunities to share my life with the people who care about me most. In short, I make messes that take time, effort, and a lot of loving to clean up.
It’s a far cry from the way the Lord deals with me. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He patiently works through my foibles, untangles my jumbled emotions, listens to my petty concerns, and I somehow presume I can’t be bothered with the detours he places in my life?
“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Proverbs 19:2). Time is precious. I won’t be on this earth forever; I may not be in this home with these four people God’s given me for very much longer. Which is why it is time to start walking “circumscpectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” I can be spending extra moments in conversation with my sisters, singing around the piano, reading the Bible aloud, listening to the wisdom of my parents, building relationships and memories that will last. Investments in eternal treasures.
Or else I’ll be wasting a lot of minutes on my knees trying to wipe away careless mistakes. Faded streaks of “Classic Ivory,” still sunken into the pores of my carpet, greet my eyes every time I walk into my bedroom. When I see the stain, my step usually slows, I stop to catch a breath, and I reevaluate why I’m hurrying.
It’s one of those mornings when spills are avoided.