For the next ten days my calendar is pretty light. I was supposed to be in Australia. Earlier this year I blocked out ten days in August for my trip and until mid-July, I was gearing up for the trip down under this week. Then I changed my plans and moved the trip into September. It meant squeezing a few meetings and appointments but it made more sense in terms of my objectives.
Well now I am entering that strange place where my calendar is not running my life for the first time since my sabbatical in 2005. I can choose to do what I want. There are no meetings. No appointments. No visits scheduled.
I got to thinking about this and made me realize that I am in charge of my calendar all the time. I think we often believe that we have no choice in what we do and where we go. It is a fatalistic attitude. We give in and just go with the flow and keep scheduling ourselves into oblivion. The truth is that we do have control over our time.
Now I know that some of us work 9 - 5 and that is a given. But it is our free time I am really thinking about. We say we don't have time for our kids or our spouse. We say we don't have time to do the yard work. We say we don't to worship or give back to the community in some way. It's not really true. We make the decisions about what we do. We control the calendar.
God is amazing. He calls us to be partners with him in bringing grace and compassion to the world. He sends us out to share his love. We can accept that call and make time get involved with our families, friends and our community or we can whittle away the hours in front of a computer or television. We can work 80 hours a week trying to amass a fortune or we can spend that time with the ones we love.
I'll never forget the sad story of one young couple I knew. He wanted to own his own business. He kept saying that he was going to work hard and retire early so he could be with his family. While his daughter was growing up he spent every waking hour at work. One day he came home to find his wife and daughter gone. He complained years later that there was nothing he could do. He had to work.
It may have been true but as I get older, I tend to think that a lot of the things we have to do are simply choices we make. We need to learn the difference and schedule in the important things as well as the rest.