Alley near Queen West Toronto - Photo by Carey Nieuwhof

What we do today matters, and Annie Dillard points out why:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our life

The tension is that often we have so many things to do that we cram our days with the urgent and miss the important.  Tasks can squeeze out family time.  Exhaustion can threaten teachable moments. How we want to spend our days can become very different than how we spend our days.

And we’ll come up with lots of reasons.  Here’s one that played almost daily in my mind for years:  “I don’t have the time to do that today.”

But then I realized that  I get exactly same amount of time as everyone else each day. Whether you are leading the most powerful nation on earth, a large corporation or the local carpool,  the clock doesn’t discriminate.  We all get 24 hours a day.

The people I deeply admire accomplish far more than I do get no more time anyone else.  They just spend their time differently.  And so I learned that if I want a different outcome, I need to spend time differently.

So I made a shift a few years ago: I stopped saying, “I don’t have the time.” Instead, I started saying “I didn’t make the time.” That made me realize that everything I do is a choice. It’s a constant reminder to me that I need to make time for what’s important and cut what isn’t. Because how I spend my days, is of course, how I spend my life.

I’m thinking about this today because in my province and for millions of other families today in Canada,  it’s Family Day.

A few years ago, several provincial governments in Canada decided to proclaim a provincial holiday so families could spend more time together.  Their rationale?  I quote from the Government of Ontario, the province in which I live:

Ontarians work very hard and they deserve more time to spend with the people they love.

I don’t know whether we deserve anything, but it’s wonderful the government is putting family first even one day a year.   So today, my family is going skiing and grilling out some steak on the barbecue in the snow.  We’ll talk, deepen relationships and share some time where memories, character, faith and our common mission can be discussed.

What’s helped you spend your days well?  What’s still the biggest obstacle you face in trying to carve out meaningful time regularly?