Time is a significant because it is so rare. It is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat it or relive it. There is no such thing as a literal instant replay. That appears only on film. It travels alongside us every day, yet is has eternity wrapped up in it.Charles R. Swindoll (Living on the Ragged Edge (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1985), page 68)
My daughter and I have attended a Father-Daughter dance for the past 10-years. She and I both cherish these special moments and memories. As she grows older, my awareness also grows that they will eventually stop. As with my death, I am unsure when that will be, however it does not make me sad. Rather, it makes me even more grateful for the moments we have today, plain and simple. With every passing day and every passing year, I simply give thanks to God for the opportunity to spend time with her.
God made us humans plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated. So complicated that we lose sight of the significance of the rarity of time. How has this happened to us? By falling for the oldest trick in the Good Book, which continues to be as effective today as it was back then. Rather than be grateful for what we have, we’re jealous, envious, covetous for what someone else has and we think we deserve. Our egos pursue scheme after scheme to get what is rightfully ours, we think. We fall for the temptation we’re missing out on something. We think we know better.
All this serves to make our lives over-complicated and confusing. Before we know it, time flies by and we can’t get it back.
Kindly join me in getting back to how we’re made, plain and simple. Here are two words that will help us on that journey, forbearance and forgiveness.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines forbearance as refraining from the enforcement of something (such as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due. At a root level, the act of forbearance requires patient self-control, restraint, and tolerance. Ultimately, however, the “something” is still due. Many things throughout our days require forbearance, and it’s a “tool in your human toolbox” that should be frequently used with others. The only way to mature in the awareness, calmness, and kindness to use forbearance, is to allow God’s Spirit to serve you like a gardener caring for a vine. He’ll cut off every branch in you that does not bear fruit, and he’ll prune every branch that does bear fruit so that it will be even more fruitful.
In addition to forbearance, the other tool you’ll need is forgiveness, which is the act of pardoning the debt, right, or obligation. It’s a cousin of forbearance, however, it elevates a different outcome, relinquishing the right to get even. As difficult as it is to learn forbearance, forgiveness is exponentially harder. But it’s worth it if you genuinely want to appreciate the significance of time.
One of my mentors, Mister Fred Rogers, eloquently captured the spirit of forbearance and forgiveness in a song, What do you do with the Mad that you Feel. Here are the lyrics.
What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?
It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want toMusic and Lyrics by Fred M. Rogers. © McFeely-Rogers Foundation. All Rights Reserved. (“What do you do with the Mad that you Feel” (1997) | Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood)
Can stop when I wish
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.