The long view

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In some of my more difficult periods of life, the issue of ‘time’ has been a pertinent point for me. At its worse, I would sit with clock in hand and watch the second hand turn round and at each 5 mins gone I would be momentarily relieved at being 5 mins nearer to death and I would be grateful that I would never have to endure that 5 mins again.

Though not quite as drastic as that normally (thankfully), the notion of ‘time’ has always been an issue for me. In true ‘dialectical’ fashion- I choose not to wear a wrist watch as it used to make things too much in my face… But equally I panic when I find myself in a room without a clock, as I feel like I am not grounded enough in reality… The unknowing is too difficult. I don’t like looking at the time on my mobile as the temptation to get distracted is increased!

But yesterday I realised that my issues with time are not just the length of time I need to endure, but also the perspective of time… Planning, dreaming, hoping… Taking a long term view. I find this tricky.

One reason is for the practical fact that none of us know how long we have on this earth. Life can end at an moment… And I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do… I might, but I might not.

The other reason is that historically I have not wanted to face the thought of life continuing… Though I may have coped with the 5 min issues, I have still found thinking in terms of months and years nigh on impossible. Even when I was in a ‘well phase’ the most I could summon up was planning my business for the academic year…

But now i find myself in a position where I need to think in the long term… Do I put myself in a position that in the short term is not a particularly good deal, but in the longer term it could pay dividends. The honest answer is, I just don’t know. This is a new skill that I’m being asked to use and I haven’t had much practise! I don’t know.

I am aware that one of my many weaknesses is my propensity of going for the short term gratification at the expense of the long view. I think often of the story of Jacob and Esau in the bible, where Esau, overwhelmed with hunger sells his birth right for a pot of stew. I have read that in the past and prayed, please God help me not to be like that- as I realise I see more of Esau in myself than Jacob.

Maybe this new opportunity is a chance to quieten the ‘Esau’ and strengthen the ‘Jacob’? Now that would be a character challenge for me!!!!

Thanks for listening.

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