Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | October 2, 2012

The Stopwatch

When I was as kid and cable meant 3 or 4 extra channels, there was this movie that was played a lot that I watched over and over… Thanks to Wikipedia and wikieditors with too much time on their hands, I now remember it was called “The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything”  It starred Pam Dauber of Mork and Mindi fame and Robert Hays, who I remembered most for his poufy 80’s hair, though most likely remember him in a little movie call “Airplane.”

In “The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything”, Hays’ character inherits a gold stop watch that stops time for everyone but him. He uses it for all kinds of antics like re-aiming a ball to hit the bully in the head rather than the shy kid being picked on, then for more lofty stuff like eluding the bad guys. (I think the writers of “Click” had the same cable channel I did – and the writers of this movie were likely fans of “The Twilight Zone.”)

I often think of that movie and that watch. When things get rather hectic and there is more to do than hours in my life, I see that movie in my head. I click the stopwatch, the world shifts to black and white, and I imagine myself moving freely about while everyone else is frozen. Oh, what I would do with that kind of watch! I’d never be late again…

Much to the chagrin of my every-so-timely sister, I am almost always late. Not because I am thoughtless, rude or self-absorbed, (though at times I know I can be all those things.) I am late because I always think I can get one more thing done. Cross one more thing off the list. Do a little more good.

I used to want this magic stopwatch so I could gain a few more hours to get things done before thousands of cyclists showed up, or walkers arrived. Now I might fantasize about it so I can clean the house or get to the grocery store before bedtime, or hit the deadlines at work while still having time to paint with Tess, play Rock Band with Jake, or read a book to Wil. I might even stop time, cross things off the list, and then click time back in motion to have a meaningful conversation with my husband.

But life is not a made-for-TV movie and we can’t stop time. It marches on so very, very quickly. One day you jot down “mail a card to Gary” and then before you can get to it, you are attending his funeral. With the best of intentions, you mean to make that phone call, you intend to take more time with your kids, you truly want to talk to your sisters more and spend more time with your mom. But work is busy, you were asked to be on another committee at church, the yard needs to be mowed, the house needs to be cleaned, and on and on…

The reality is we can’t have it all and we certainly can’t do it all. Life is about choices and we all need to choose wisely. I don’t think there is ‘balance’ in life. Balance means all things are equal. The more we strive to give equal amounts to everything, the more we shortchange it all.  I think we each need to decide what our priorities are and shift the scales toward them. Take some time to figure out what you are supposed to be doing and lean toward that – then say no to some others.

I believe each of us has been placed here by God to do something fairly specific; figuring out what that is can be quite a challenge. I struggle with it all the time… Am I focused on the right things? Am I tilting my life towards the purpose He has for me? How can I know?

Every once in a while I make the right choice, prioritize appropriately, and – though it doesn’t make any sense – He gives me extra time. Somehow, when I am shifting my life toward His plans for me, he clicks the stopwatch and gives me more time to get the right things done. It is like the loaves and fishes, only it is minutes and hours.

Sometimes tilting my life toward His purpose, following His lead, means letting go of something I don’t want to. It means saying ‘no’ to some things that are good. It’s not just separating the wheat from the chaff of my life – cut out TV to have more time with kids – Some things are good and right, they are just not good and right for me or the purpose that He planned for me. That’s tricky.

Right now I think my life is on the threshing floor. It is time for me to tilt more towards Him and His purpose for me. I know there are things that are good and right that I need to let go of so I can do the very specific good and right He has planned for me. I am still trying to figure out exactly what that is, so the images of Robert Hays, Pam Dauber and that magical stopwatch are invading my dreams. But I know the answers can’t be found in a made-for-TV movie. They can only be found one place, and that is In Him. He is the weaver of dreams, the master of all time, and the author of my story.

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