Because our New Year’s Day dinner was postponed from the original agreement of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., I felt like I had all the time in the world. Like the hare of the famous fable about a race with a tortoise, I dillydallied. It was now noontime, and 4 o’clock seemed far away. I would have all afternoon to prepare before guests arrived.
At about 1:30 I started to get a little nervous. One always runs into unforeseen glitches (I couldn’t find the cartons of heavy cream I was sure I had; a young man was asleep on the sofa so I couldn’t pass the Hoover; my daughter was stranded in Center City and would need a ride.)
I had engaged in what my friend Kristen calls “magical thinking.” I had been unrealistic about the window I had for accomplishing my tasks. Now I was starting to “sober up” from my delusions of grandeur and to cull a more doable mental list for the time that remained. A snatch of a Psalm came to mind:
“Oh LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me …” (Psalm 131).
I jettisoned a lot of the house cleaning I had planned. The dusting went out the window and the vacuuming was a lick and a promise. I threw the unsightly mountain of shoes into a closet and out of sight. Rather than run to the store for whipping cream, I made a quick custard for the cream puffs and called them éclairs. I decided the bathroom would have to stay as is, not perfect but not disgusting. I settled for two side vegetables and chucked the winter squash.
The Lord is coming back soon. Meanwhile, Jesus said:
“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
There is absolutely no time for dillydallying.
“… lay aside … sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness … not in quarreling and jealously” (Romans 13:12-13).
We have absolutely no time to waste.