In my spare time

IMG_2952What do you do with free time? Actually "free time" seems like an oxymoron to me. Time is never free. Every moment that passes is lost, every moment yet to be is spendable. And right now is constantly changing with each nanosecond beat of our hearts. But "spare" time or "free" time is what we define as moments when we don't have to fulfill obligations. We are free to do whatever we please within the confines of our abilities.

Some people have way too much free time on their hands and wish they had more to do. (So what can they do to fill those precious moments that will never be again?) If our bodies allow, there are always people in need and we can help - physically, as in get out and offer to lend a hand to help them, or prayerfully, as in not just saying "I'm praying for you" but really meaning it and doing so. Both are gifts of time well spent - especially for those who want to do more.

On the other hand, many of us lead very busy lives, and get very little down time. So when you get some, how do you spend it? Sometimes it's good to just relax and do nothing. That's okay. But here is what I do when I get some time to myself--ways I enjoy the quiet moments:

IMG_29611. Play - Weather permitting I go for a bike ride. There is nothing like the outdoors to give my spirits a lift. It can also be a great time to talk on the phone or listen to music or pray. God and I have some heavy conversations at the park sometimes. I picked up the hobby/exercise when my dad got sick and it's my favorite go-to closet of prayer.

Sometimes, if I don't have time for the bike I might play the piano just because I can. Who knows how long my hands will work to play as I once did? So I enjoy the moments.

2. Read for fun - Sometimes I forget what that looks like. The other day I told a friend, "I'm reading Rahab's story for final draft, editing Deborah's story so I can turn it in, and am reading a biblical for endorsement. I am dying to read something that isn't biblical." (Does that sound sacrilegious?) It's not because God gave us all things to enjoy. I opted for the Little House on the Prairie books, but I'm thinking of trying out John Steinbeck's East of Eden next. (Can you see the price on the book in this picture? I've had this set since I was young.)

IMG_28903. Make something creative - anything can fall into this category. Maybe it's just playing with pictures and making an album to go up on Facebook or searching my families' genealogy and putting things in a file for a future project. I also like new recipes. I like to search out healthy alternatives and just play with them. A new raw cookie that tastes amazing or a smoothie that is to-die-for! I like to make colorful dinner arrangements (when I cook) and find healthy ways to turn boring into beneficial.

IMG_2887It's a short list, but it's a start. I think it's really important to take time out from our goals to just be. To hug the kitty who snuggles next to me. To watch the birds and squirrels at play, to marvel at the glorious colors of fall, to smile at the sunshine and thank the God who made them all.

Each day is a gift that I want to accept. Time is precious and fleeting. But though it may cost me a moment away from a pressing goal, it is good to create space - spare time - to breathe - smell the roses as they say. When the sun goes down those moments will be lost for today. And none of us know whether we have tomorrow. (Not to be morbid, just being real.)

So how do you make the most of your free time? What can you do to make the next moments better?