Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nothing Wasted

"Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.  For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that comes to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men."  Thomas Merton wrote these words in "New Seeds of Contemplation."  Merton who died in 1968 entered a monastery in Kentucky in 1949.  In the earlier years of my life when I was so caught up in doing, I had no time for his message about the contemplative lifestyle.  In these later years what he wrote seems like food for a hungry soul.

We sometimes think that certain times of our life are of more value than others.  Certainly, our culture tells us that productivity and activity are the valued qualities.  This alone deems a large segment of people as those who are wasting time and using up space.  Perhaps, getting older has put me more in touch with this aspect of life.  And, of course, it is also true that we put the label of waste on certain moments of our living.  Getting stalled in a traffic jam, or getting delayed by someone's incompetence, or recovering from an injury bring us to moments that seem to have lesser value.

But, these lines from Merton send a different message.  Every single moment of our lives is useful to God.  He sees none of our minutes as waste.  It is a view that we are challenged to embrace.  Regardless of the time in our life, or the hard circumstances that time might bring, God is at work in it.  Within every single moment of my life is something I need for the living that God has created me to do.  It is as if we are constantly at the table where nurture is being offered and, yet, so often we are too busy to eat.  We are in such a hurry to get somewhere else that we fail to know the value of what is all around us.  It is no one's loss but our own.

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