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Finding time

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Time doesnít stop for anyone. One thing moves, or should I say, rushes headlong into the next. Our lives, it seems, arenít lived with much punctuation. We donít finish things with a period, or pause in the middle for a comma. Word after word, line after line, day after day, our lives have become a blur of activity with little definition.

For example, all our family Christmas decorations are still up, but our parish is already holding meetings about Lent. We do need to plan now, but I have to admit that I feel a bit stretched (or is that ďstressed?Ē) about wrapping up the camels and kings and talking about Holy Week on the same day. Maybe I should leave Christmas up for one more week at home!

People often tell us that we should ďmake timeĒ for things. The wise and the holy exhort us too, to ďtake timeĒ for prayer, for ourselves, our marriages, our families, and friends: for all those things that belong to that countless host of things that count the most. Iím never quite sure what to make of their advice. Iím just not convinced that I can slow down, especially when I hardly have enough time to meet all the obligations I have. I donít know how to ďmake time,Ē (if you do, would you please let me in on the secret?), and I rarely feel as if I can ďtake timeĒ without creating a problem for somebody else.

For me finding time is enough of a challenge. But what I usually do to ďfindĒ the time I need is to use the time I have. For the most part, that means designating a certain date or day or hour for a specific purpose. You know, like deciding that Monday is laundry day, and Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti day.

So, as the fresh new 2007 calendar goes on the wall or refrigerator or file cabinet, we ought to ask ourselves what time we can manage to find in our busy schedules to nurture our spiritual lives. If any of us is really going to do it, the fact is weíve got to plan for it now.

I haven't been to an all day or even half-day of faith formation since I can't remember when -- at least not one where I wasn't a presenter. It isnít that I donít want to go to these things, itís just that I donít always feel right about taking off and doing it. No one at home tells me not to go, but that little voice in my head telling me that Iím too tired, I just donít have the time, or that taking the time would be somehow irresponsible isnít so little after all.

Of course, flying off to missions in Africa for a few weeks isnít something I can do. But realistically, my life could sustain a few days of recollection or nearby conferences. In fact, Iím beginning to wonder whether my life can be sustained without them.

This year, Iíve made the choice to attend the Boston Catholic Womenís Conference on Sunday, March 18. Yes, our parish Lenten Mission begins that evening. Yes, Iíll be in the throes of the final details for our Confirmation on March 25. Yes, I will be scrambling around with my Irish step dancers for St. Patrickís Day performances all the previous week. But this year, Iím going! The truth is I need to be there, with all my sisters in Christ singing loud enough to raise the roof, laughing, and praying, and being Church. I need to see, and not just know, that I am not alone, that there are thousands of Catholic women seeking to live the fullness of life in Jesus Christ.

If youíd like to meet me for lunch, mark the date in your calendar, and register at www.bostoncatholicwomen.org. And if your husband isnít too sure that the house wonít fall into the sea without you, consider signing him up for the Boston Catholic Menís conference being held the day before. Iíll tell my husband to save him a seat!

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an author, speaker, musician and serves as Faith Formation Coordinator at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lynnfield.

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