I was especially slow one day this week in moving from one thing to the next. By the end of the day my brain had turned over enough times to finally stumble upon the cause: I had not slept enough for the previous three nights. Before this alarms you, let me say that this was by choice and not out of worry or illness or anything external. One night I stayed up watching television, another found me working on my laptop at the kitchen table, and another evening just got away from me. Whatever the reasons, I averaged an hour and a half less sleep than I need, and the effects were catching up with me. I was taking too long to complete one item or meeting or task before moving on to the next.
Is remaining in a conversation a long time such a terrible thing? Is lingering over an email to get it just right a crime? No, not necessarily. Unless we are supposed to be on to something else. Consider this: John Wesley instituted questions to be asked by every Methodist Bishop when they stand in front of persons coming to be ordained Ministers. There are 19 of them that remain a part of the Service of Ordination and this is the final question,
Will you observe the following directions? a) Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at any one place than is strictly necessary. b) Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time.- Book of Discipline, 2012, ¶336
Time is a gift. I spent too long doing some things that I needed to move on from. While I was punctual to the start of every appointment, save one, I was not punctual in ending many of the tasks of my day. I think about how Mark was so fond of describing the timing of Jesus' movements with the word immediately. Could it be that this was Mark's way of saying that Jesus was intentional in being present in the moment and then moving on to the next right thing at the right time? I think so.
May the chiming of the hour never find us delaying in one task, when the next right thing is calling. Grace and peace, Scott