Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Out of the Grip of Time ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Out of the Grip of Time ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

A few years ago, when a couple of my kids were in middle school and testing the extent of their musical skills - one was taking clarinet and the other trombone - I attended the school's spring concert. It was a combined event for the beginning band, the beginning orchestra, the beginning choir, and a few other smaller groups of middle-school student musicians. If there was a future Yo- Yo Ma in the bunch, I didn't spot him (or her). I recall looking down at the program at one point and seeing we were on the eighth piece of the night, and we had something like 29 to go. I felt for a moment that I was getting a new view of eternity.

Beyond taking its place in the stockpile of family memories, the evening represented, for me, something additional. A small turning point in my perception of time. Two hours at the middle school concert didn't feel at all like two hours at a Rolling Stones concert, where time zoomed by with lightning speed. Was there more I could do to set the pace and control the productivity of my life? Were circumstances always going to dominate?

Right at the start, the Bible underscores that God gives us dominion over all things. Usually that's taken to mean dominion over fish and birds and so on, objects we see or touch. But I've been learning something: God- bestowed dominion extends to time. And I've come to a conclusion. Nobody else can squander our time unless we concede to them the power to do so - something we'd only do if we'd abandoned our God-given dominion. So, that's something I'm working on - claiming dominion, not conceding to anyone or anything the power to waste my time.

Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote a brief article called "Improve your time," which begins, "Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing" ("Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896," pg. 230). A couple of paragraphs later, she returns to the idea of "improving moments." It's not really a need to open up in our lives a large block of time that we didn't think was there. It's more a case of letting spiritual dominion shape the moment-by-moment use of our days. …

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