The Leaf Blower Blew Me Away: The Value of Time

Last week I walked out into the front yard, fired up the leaf blower, and burst into tears.

My reaction was not triggered by the sorry condition of my yard (which would have warranted a totally justifiable, full blown, hysterical meltdown in less serious days) but because I finally had time—actual moments strung together in sequence— to blow the dang leaves.

The relief I felt at that moment was tangible.

And that’s kinda weird.

No one should face the prospect of an afternoon with wet, decaying leaves with such palpable peace. And yet, I did.

As they saying goes, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Please don’t misunderstand, I am not—and don’t want to be—flippant in such important times. These are unchartered waters for post-World War II Americans. The fear, the consequences, of this pandemic are very real. My heart aches for so many, especially high school and college seniors missing out on so much that they had been anticipating.

I’m sorry for those who are fretting financially or dealing with young kids and aging parents. There’s no limit to the worry list. I’m not underestimating the toll it has, and will, take on so many.

Yet the truth is for me, right now at least, there are many blessings in this void.

Before everything was cancelled, I realize now, I was driving myself crazy. I was in a constant and losing race against time. Time was the one thing in which I never had enough—the one thing I was always up against, trying to beat, roll back, resist, or avoid. I rushed through every day, thinking I’d do tomorrow better. I’d be up earlier. I’d be better, stronger, less tired, more able—the next day.

Always the next day.

The result was swiftly adding up in my muddled mind to a pile of mediocre yesterdays.

“Push through,” I’d urge myself. “Everyone else has it together.” Everyone. But. You.

And that tired loop became a mainstay in my loopy brain.

It actually didn’t matter how productive I was during the day, the thought was always, “You could have done more.”

It’s exhausting what we do to ourselves (or at least, what I do to myself, and I suspect I’m not alone. Hence, why I’m spilling my guts here).

At any rate, I’d be so tired all day long, and then as soon as I’d climb into bed, it was lights off and party on in my head as I replayed the day gone by and the day coming up.

Pre-COVID-19, sleep, like time, was elusive.

Until now. Now, there’s time.

Now I’m sleeping better.

And I’m grateful.

I absolutely believe in God and His promises that He “works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). There is nothing that surprises Him, nothing He didn’t see coming. If my God can part a sea and give me His Son as a savior, I reasonably assume a virus has nothing on Him.

So I truly don’t fear the future.

What I do fear is the past.

I don’t want to go back to the way things were just a few weeks ago. I loved Jesus just as much then, but with everything open for business, I made it my business to be in constant motion, telling myself it was for Him. Now I’m thinking it was movement motivated mostly by me, fueled by good intentions for sure, but not necessarily what God intended for me.

But with the global “We’re Closed” sign posted, it’s hard for me to miss His meaning. It’s time for me to stop trying to bang down the doors and embrace what’s now open.

As it turns out, that’s everything—everything that is, that ever mattered.

I think that’s God message, maybe just not for me, but for all of us. When we have everything, we tend to miss the most important things.

Not this time.

Like the leaves that lived but for a season and then fell off our trees, begging for my leaf blower, this virus too shall pass.

But the One who grants us time is asking for more of ours right now, and I’m determined to give as much as I get.

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