Yesterday as I was walking through the village where we live I passed a car parked on the village street. A mother had dropped off one of her sons with instructions to pick up something in the post office. Her other son sat in the front passenger seat with the window down. The son who had been dropped off must have been uncertain about what he was to pick up because he ran back to the car, asked his mother a question and then turned to run back to the post office. His brother called after him, “Stop wasting time.” I am sure it was a sibling tease, but it started me thinking.
It caused me to recall the exchange in Antoine de Saint Expery’s book The Little Prince between the fox and the little prince. It goes like this:
And he [the little prince] went back to meet the fox.
“Goodbye,” he said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose -” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember. (pp. 87-88)
The truth is that most of us rush through these days that lead to Christmas.
From one moment to the next.
From one event to the next.
From one expectation to the next.
Never wasting a second.
Barely slowing down to see where we are or to know who we are with.
But, maybe there is something about Advent…
Something about really getting ready for Christmas…
That is about creatively, lovingly, thoughtfully, prayerfully wasting time.
Wasting time to think not just about what gift you will give, but purposefully thinking about the one who will receive the gift.
Wasting time to pay attention to the interplay between the darkness and the light.
Wasting time to ponder the meaning of these passing days.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
The time you waste on them is what makes them so important.