Of all the phrases that I’m learning these days, “time suck” feels like one of the truest descriptors that’s come along for a long time. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Sure, it feels a little bit “judging.” Only because it is true.
Perhaps this phrase was invented for all the apps that suddenly fill our ITunes account (another one that my grandmother would have a bit of trouble translating). It steals our attention and sucks dry our time.
Humans are continually creating phrases that culturally speak to who we are these days and who we may evolve into. It matters that we pay attention to the words and phrases for these days of our lives.
When I think of all the things to be written on my headstone or in my obit, I’m thinking: “She had a gift when it came to time sucking.” “No kidding, that Lesley had game when it came to time sucking.” “Time sucking had nothing on her.” Any or all of those things woven into reflective words about my life makes my spirit weary just thinking about.
It’s impossible to really capture time, especially when trying to describe it. Or what it means to me. Time can be chronological (wristwatch-time) and immeasurable (catching up with an old friend and sharing belly-laughs). There are moments that seem to stand still with everything sharp and clear and a feeling of being totally, completely alive. And there are moments that drag on where the second-hand seems out of gas and unable to move forward. Both are true. How so, I don’t always know. But for both of those extremes and for all the time in-between, I want to be as awake and aware as I can.
When I think about being caught up in a time suck, I feel like I’m gong down the rapids without a paddle. It’s as though there is a force pulling me along and I am at its mercy. And the truth is ~ it’s not that at all. The truth is, most all times, when I’m engaged in a “time suck,” I’ve turned the key and put things in motion.
We’re given this one, precious life. We’re given this one, precious day. This one, precious hour. This one, precious moment. To be creative or generous or amazed or kind or thankful. Although we have no power over time, we control the verbs. As Mary Oliver says, “What will you do with this one precious life?” It’s about time, it’s about us.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.