Wasting Time

Today I have several unpleasant tasks to do; so, like many people, I am doing my best to put them off for as long as possible. Already this morning I have tidied a drawer that doesn’t really need tidying; I have had a long and silly conversation with the dog; I have rearranged the pots of seeds on their table; and as a final distraction, I have begun to blog about it all. When I do finally write that letter I don’t want to write and get down to that little bit of admin that I know will prove tiresome, I shall regret having put them off, but I won’t regret the things I have done in the interim.

Wasting time is a sin against poverty said Merton, with more severity than I think justified. The word ‘waste’ is connected with the Latin vastus. Its primary meaning is ‘unoccupied’ but it also has overtones of vastness. I think wasting time allows us a little space in which to take in the vastness of God’s creation. Surely that can’t be . . . a waste of time, can it?


11 thoughts on “Wasting Time”

  1. When you find yourself wallpapering a hedge, you know your procrastination has gone too far! That was a phrase I acquired from a friend a few years ago when they were writing up their PhD and anything, anything was preferable.

  2. As I’m sure both Brother Duncan and Cookie would remind you, conversation with them is never wasted. We might not know their language but we mostly get their replies, intuitively.

  3. What a lovely turn around – waste to vastness and the vastness of God – I needed to hear that today in the manic times of my life. And my Mollie and Penny would certainly echo Brother Duncan’s and Cookie’s opinion that a conversation with them is never a waste of time……..even if it ultimately results in a trip to the ‘doggie’ biscuit barrel!! Thank you for you blog today Sister Catherine.

  4. I prefer to call waste of time β€œrest” of time.
    Essential to all of us from time to time.
    Americans tend to use waste/waster in a different sense to us.
    The Irish often use lazy instead of waste , further evidence of a divided by a common language!

  5. “wasting” time can be very important to allow room for thoughts to settle and new ideas to emerge which don’t have space in the midst of all the activity and Getting On With Things. It is very rarely time actually wasted.

  6. I’ve always thought that wasting time can be quite productive in terms of our inner spirituality – i.e. we’re free to meander through the mind, remembering that Jesus wandered for 40 days in the desert and didn’t do a stroke of work, just meditating and praying and perhaps trying to avoid the ministry that he was sent to deliver.

    I’m frightened to tidy drawers, because whenever I open them, stuff seems to fall out or I can’t get it back in to close the drawer. Perhaps hoarding is a bigger sin than wasting time?

  7. Well, it is generally salutary, I find, to turn the wisdom of ‘this world’ on it s head.

    Forgive me, but shame on you for thinking a conversation with Bro Duncan is a waste of time. He’s God’s little reflection and can teach us humans a thing or two about the Creator in the gentlest possible way. I hope St Francis has missed this post πŸ™‚

    You’ll feel so virtuous when you’re through with your unpleasant tasks!

    God Bless πŸ™‚

  8. Ahem, talking to the dog is no more a waste of time than taking in the vastness of God’s creation. I checked this with my dog and he wagged his tail in agreement πŸ˜‰

  9. Remaining in tune with God’s will through the Holy Spirit requires flexible spontaneity and childlike joy as well as timely, disciplined work. Harmonized prayer to God expands and enriches God’s gift of time, so that we can serve others in love, not merely as duty. Prayer washes time, it never wastes it.

  10. Thank you all for your comments. Sarah got my point exactly, which is nice; but it has been interesting to read everyone’s views. Bro Duncan PBGV has forgiven me for suggesting conversations with him are a waste of time but says he knows what I mean. He humours me. πŸ™‚

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