“Our life is made of time and time is God's gift, and it is therefore important to make use of it by performing good and fruitful actions.”
– Pope Francis
One of the joys of parenthood is cheering on your children as they begin to participate in sports. On the other hand, the 95% of time spent driving them to and from said events, checking out from Dick’s Sporting Goods as frequently as the grocery store, and then waiting for the events to start that is much less joyful. My wife comes from a track family and thus, our children participate in track. If you’re unfamiliar with this sport, the proportion of time spent waiting versus the actual time doing the sport is perhaps the most unbalanced. I thought we had achieved a small victory by having all four of our children do the same sport this year. While practices are great, the actual track meet is catastrophic. What used to be an hour or two waiting for one 2-3 minute race, has now become a 5-hour adventure of how to keep my 6-year old entertained between her race in the beginning of the event and her older sister’s race at the very end, when the snack bar has long shut down and officials are hauling away the trash as the final kids cross the finish line.
As I am sure you will believe, I suffer through this piously, quietly, never hyperbolizing or making comments to others. But last weekend, a few jokes and complaints may have slipped out to the parents that had unfortunately selected the nearby bleachers. Having heard enough of my antics, a mom who I am friendly with charitably offered a different perspective. “Maybe I’m crazy,” she offered. “It’s a gorgeous day out, we’re outside, nobody’s on a device, we’re all cheering for the home team, and I’m not doing laundry. Not a bad way to spend a day.” As I walked to buy my third soft pretzel of the day, my thoughts began to shift from tracking how much time I was “wasting” by “waiting.” I recalled the handful of nice conversations I got to have with some other parents, and I appreciated the number of kids that I actually knew and could cheer for by name after living in the parish for almost a decade.
In life and leadership, what am I really wasting when I feel like I’m stuck waiting? Am I wasting an opportunity to listen? Am I giving up the chance to be present to someone in my presence? Am I actually missing God answering my prayer to step off the gerbil wheel of life for a moment and catch my breath? The question may not be if I track my time, but how I track it. I affirmed to my mom-friend that she was not the one who was crazy, and I committed to tracking the time at track meets differently from now on. As we reflect on our own Road to Emmaus in this Easter Season, let’s pray that our “eyes are opened” and we “recognize Him” in all the races we run.
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