In the midst of the craziness, a moment of vision emerged. A revelation of sorts, not as much epiphany as a breath of fresh air. Oxygen pervading my bloodstream provided a refreshing pause, a chance to ponder. I was consumed by an unfamiliar feeling that I was somehow out of place, though I stood where I had been for the last 20 years. However, this time, it was different.
An extended stay at a seaside bungalow provided well-needed time for rest and reflection. The warm salty breeze and rhythm of rolling waves lured my weary mind away from micromanaged minutia to thoughts outside the margins, beyond the confines of the places I am expected to remain. A chance to reassess not just the time spent, but the effort expended in pursuit of work life, home life and prayer life. Blessings of clarity led me to re-prioritize these, yet in reverse.
The early morning sunrise on the lanai afforded time to open a book, to consume printed ink on real paper, a far cry from the flood of the digital mass that we tend to consume. “Crossroads” by William P Young caught my eye at a local bookstore, not just because the author had also written “The Shack”, but the title plucked at my heartstrings. The main character was deep in a coma and encountered Jesus, Pappa God and the Holy Spirit in differing persons. Real tangible people who he could touch, ask questions, and argue with. I have been drawn to stories like this where Jesus was present, in human form, to talk, laugh and cry with; not just some perfectly quaffed image in an old bible on the shelf. They present Jesus as a living person, sitting at the table next to you at breakfast, wanting to talk about your dreams of the night before and the day that lies ahead. More than just a perceived, one-way relationship, it is a chance to explore the nuances of Jesus, the humor, the wisdom, the prodding to consider more than what we can see and feel.
As the morning wasted away between the pages, I found time to join my bride on a stroll along the shoreline, then to the kitchen to share a mid-morning breakfast. The lack of a to-do list proved that my only to-do list was to not make a to-do list. I took time to soak in soft green eyes, even if they were behind “that look”, when my foolishness would abound. When prompted about the plan for the day, I replied, “no clocks, no emails, no deadlines, just existence”.
I carried my learned lessons home in a backpack, along with remnants of surf and sand, and living on “island time”. I returned to find that the office had not collapsed without the support of my shoulders. It was also apparent that my newfound “island time” did not always align with the old “office time”. It was like those images of a man standing still as the world around him spun by at time-lapse speed, not only in movement, but also in stressed faces and speech, a vivid image of where I was a few weeks prior.
I soon found that my commute to work took much longer than the return trip. My “island time” had become “kitchen island time”, much sweeter and relaxed than before. My phone, when sent to a corner, still whined for attention like a petulant two year old. I let it cry itself to sleep because those same “perceived problems” would be there in the morning. Walking through the evening without a “digital umbilical cord” was hard at first, but became refreshing and empowering.
“Kitchen Island Time” should be reserved for the pursuit of things that really matter, love and laughter, tears and hugs, standing hand in hand in the embrace of Jesus to face the battles of this life. Therefore, if I tend to feel out of place anywhere else, it is a good sign that I am doing this “life thing” the right way. I pray I can continue to do so.
Living on “Kitchen Island Time”
And Blessed in Great Measure