time is a problem for many humans. some can’t wait; some procrastinate. restless people ‘can sometimes be so taken up with the future that they find it hard to live in the present…. if life is too regular, they become impatient…. others, by contrast, become frightened by too much of the unexpected; they need regularity. a community needs dynamic people who construct and do dramatic things. but even more it needs people whose roots are in the spirituality of everyday life.’
what is ‘everyday life’? it is ‘the thousand and one small things that have to be done each day, the cycle of dirtying and cleaning.’ for example, ‘cooking and washing floors can become a way of showing our love for others.’ and it is important to recognize these gifts: ‘all it takes is a smile and two small words–”thank you”.’
time can be used lovingly or in isolation. for example, people who spend ‘time watching television very quickly [lose their] sense of creativity, sharing, and celebration. people don’t meet anymore–they are glued to the screen. when people love each other, they are content with very little’ but strangely they have lots of time to give.
another way people lose sense of time is by hoarding wealth. but vanier does not exhort us to be materially poor, though he warns us of its dangers, for wealth can be used to serve others. rich people ‘can, for instance, use their space to welcome more people’ or feed or clothe others and give freely of their skills, experience, knowledge, and especially time.
you then have prioritize how you spend your time, you have to choose, you have to know yourself and what you do, especially when there is conflict, like in the west bank, where ‘it is not always easy to trust in the importance of doing little things when political struggle is raging round us.’
there is a political side to being in a community. far from being a secluded hide-out, ‘christian communities have to be at the heart of society, visible to everyone… they should be a sign that we don’t need artificial stimulants or material goods for our hearts to rejoice at the beauty of those around us and of the universe in which we live, a sign that we can work together to make our neighbourhood, village, or city a place of creativity and human growth.’
but ultimately it is god/dess who transforms ‘our hearts and lead us from egoism to love, so that we can live everyday life as brothers and sisters.’
there really is no timelessness for us mortals, but we can love what we do by trying to do what we love. loving what we do is probably as close as we’re going to get to being timeless.