Physicists tell us that time is relative. In different places, time is measured differently.
The variations detected would be barely perceptible without sophisticated technology, but the concept suggests something that humanity has always seemed to know - time is flexible. Tempus fugit, as the ancient Romans put it, or as we might say: "Time flies when you're having fun." Then there's "Parkinson's law" - "Work expands to fill the time available," and the adage of parenthood: "The days are unending, and the years fly by."
With a 4- and 10-year-old in our home, I have thought a lot about that last one. I have enjoyed adapting to "kid time" - the time I've spent doing things at my daughters' speed, taking time to see things the way they did, was full of wonder and magic.
But the demands of grown-up life did not go away, and there was often a pull to return to "adult time" and priorities. Finding a balance that worked was challenging. My husband and I tried to arrange our schedules to fulfill our responsibilities and also have quality in our family time. This helped, but we often felt like a juggling act.
There are other sayings about time - one comes from Psalms and talks about time spent with God: "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand" (Ps. 84:10). And from II Peter: "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (3:8). These words remind me that time spent with a spiritual sense of what is going on, an awareness of God's presence and His loving control of all that is real, is not only wonderful to us, but it can bring real change to our sense of time and how much good is possible.
This deeper understanding of who we are and what is going on can be found in simple things.
At times, the kindness of a friend or helpfulness of a stranger has suggested to me a larger grace and goodness that underlie our lives. In order to have real quality time consistently, I've learned that I have to put aside notions of my time, my agenda, and consciously turn to God for divine direction and inspiration. As Jesus put it, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," and "After this manner therefore pray ye.... Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:33, 9, 10).
The inspiration to write this article came early one morning. Just as I was thinking how quiet the house was, my 4-year-old ran into the room. "Mommy, I'm up as early as you!" Looking from her face to the laptop, I recognized that this was an opportunity to put inspiration into action.
It may seem counterintuitive to find time by adding yet another item to our list of things to do, but making prayer a priority can result in unexpected adjustments that simply weren't visible before. My prayer, as the morning progressed, was to put the love of God first and trust the day to Him. As we ate, cleaned up, got dressed, and sat down to a coloring project, I thought about all that God was providing to us. There was much to be grateful for - the beautiful day, the good we had to share together, joy, creativity, affection. All of this was the expression of God's own nature.
Divine Love is never cramped by scheduling conflicts and never runs out of time. It occurred to me that I could afford to be patient.
My desire to cherish my faith in Love was connecting me with the real Principle of my life, the Love that never fails. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in "Science Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it. Goodness attains the demonstration of Truth" (page 2). When we turn to God, we are met by His love, a sense of good that includes and inspires us.
The day brought with it demands for quick thinking, patience, and good humor, and I found that through prayer, these were becoming easier and more natural to express.
It was taking less effort to come up with the right answers, a kind word, solutions to family and work problems. I felt as if I was witnessing an already intact perfection.
Toward the end of the day, the time to sit down and write became available, and I felt astounded and grateful for the fresh experience I could bring to it.
In the light of Love, I learned that it isn't more time that we need or a more efficient blend of kid and adult agendas. Grace, efficiency, and divine just-rightness are qualities of thought that are always available to us.