Saturday, 1 August 2009


Being the Second of 103 Good Things

When I set out to blog about 103 Good Things in my life Time was certainly not one of the ideas I had. And yet without it, all the other Good Things are as naught.

Money is often maligned by being described as the root of all evil. The original quote is from the Bible and reads “For the love of money is the root of all evil:”. Similarly Time is also frequently maligned as being the cause of many of our problems but nearly always it is the lack of time or the mismanagement of time that is the evil.

I think that nowadays we tend to try too hard to get £1 and sixpenceworth of spending out of our £1. Similarly we try too hard to get an hour and five minutes worth of things done in every hour. We never seem to have enough time.

Having been on holiday for three months I was amazed at how quickly the days went despite not having to do a lot of the things I am obliged to do at home. Now I’m back in the whirl of ‘real’ life I am equally amazed at how many jobs there are to do and, apparently, how little time. And yet, in the vast majority of cases the deadlines are of my own making.

Now that the hedge has been cut back from the public pavement it makes no difference to anyone else at what speed I get the garden back in order. Gardening is supposed to be fun and not a chore. So I shall do the weeding and the cutting back at my own pace. Each little job will be treated as the triumph that it is rather than as only being a small percentage of the whole.

Most of the paperwork that requires my attention has managed three months without it. So I don’t need to sort it today. Tomorrow will do, or the next day....

Housework is a never-ending cycle and living with others means that however much I do there will always be more to do when I wake up the next morning. So why rush it?

I have yet to blog my Hebridean adventures from 23rd June onwards on my Hebridean blog. There’s no need to try to do them all in one go. I shall do them bit by bit and anyone who follows that blog can continue to enjoy them for some time to come.

And all the other things on my lists – they too can wait.

Time, like fire, telephones and computers can be a good friend but a bad master. I shall endeavour in future to use what time I have left to good effect and not spend it worrying about things not done.

We may debate at length what happens when you finally run out of time. Suffice it to say that whatever religion or philosophy you espouse you can be assured your physical body is not going to carry on doing things. So, treated properly, time is definitely a Good Thing.



  1. Oh John - you have caught the Hebridean disease - "ish ish" time.
    It took me a while to get used to it but I too now say "I will do it today or if not tomorrow or ......."

    Thank you for that blog - it was most thought provoking.

    I love the pictures of your garden. I think it is beautiful - just as nature intended - we "tidy" too much. xx

  2. I think we could all do with taking Hebridean time, from time to time!

    A very valuable post, Sir. Thank you so...

  3. Hebridean time must be similar to Hawaiian time -- there it's called it "island time." There's something about being on an island which makes time seem less relevant. Still only 24 hrs. a day, but it seems more leisurely somehow.

    I found some comments on time which I'd like to share. These are from the poet Kathleen Norris's book, "The Cloister Walk" which came out in 1996. Other works of hers include "Acedia and Me," and "Amazing Grace, a Vocabulary of Faith":

    The Benedictines refer to their Liturgy of the Hours as 'the sanctification of time.' ...

    In our culture, time can seem like an enemy: it chews us up and spits us out with appalling ease. But the moastic perspective welcomes time as a gift from God, and seeks to put it to good use rather than allowing us to be used up by it. A friend who was educated by the Benedictines has told me that she owes to them her sanity with regard to time. 'You never really finish anything in life,' she says, 'and while that's humbling, and frustrating, it's all right. The Benedictines, more than any other people I know, insist that there is time in each day for prayer, for work, for study, and for play.'

    Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather than always pushing to 'get the job done' ...

    I particularly like the emphasis on the value of stillness, and process as opposed to worldy 'productivity'. It gives us permission to read or study when other people might think we should be engaged in something more 'productive.'

    And with that, I think I'll go off and read my book for a bit. Hope you're having a good day,

    The Canadian Chickaee

  4. Canadian Chickadee, you have reminded me of how guilty I would feel in work if I was caught staring out of the window. I was usually thinking about work but being caught in a supposedly non-productive activity was always somehow 'wrong'. One was expected always to have one's hands and eyes doing things if one was to be working properly. I'm not sure when people expected you to think!

  5. Hmm ... I'm not sure I was supposed to think when I was working. :0)

    I was just supposed to get those forms and letters cranked out and back in the post.

    Take care,
    The Canadian chickadee


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