86,400

Photo by Scott Smith

“And what then? Is not a day divided into twenty-four hours, each hour into sixty minutes, and every minute subdivided into sixty seconds? Now in 86,400 seconds very many things can be done.”

-The Count of Monte Cristo

It’s amazing, when I think about it, just how much I can put off on a daily basis. From the time I wake up I feel as if I’m plagued by the things I’ve put off the day before: I run late to work because my shirt’s wrinkled and I didn’t iron it, I can’t find my children’s shoes, I’m at the sink because I hadn’t washed any bottles to take to daycare, and I’m struggling to get my daughter’s backpack packed up. I pay bills the day they’re due, the light comes on before I stop to get gas, I buy presents the day before (maybe) a celebration, I wait until I’m completely out of socks to put in a load of laundry, and I usually don’t leave the house to go somewhere until it’s time to be there, usually for no other reason than, “we don’t need to be there for another five minutes.” I am constantly putting things off until the last minute. I have no idea why, but if I know something isn’t due until the 6th, and it’s only the fourth, my only thought is that I have two more days.

And let’s just be honest, for the most part its okay. For the most part, I get to work on time. The kids get to school, the bills get paid, I don’t run out of gas, my family members get their birthday presents (?), and I wear clean socks (??).

The problem isn’t with these daily activities. The problem is when I stop to think about the bigger, more important, more outstanding things I could be doing with my life. The bigger, more important, more outstanding things we could be doing in the world around us. When we first started TTAF, I wrote a post about the world in 2050, and the challenge was to make the world the way you wanted it to be. The challenge was to think of the way you wanted to world to look in the year 2050, when your kids are having their kids, and work to make the world look the way you envision it.

What have I done since then? What have you done since then?

I know writing a post about procrastination can be a little cliché. But this is the problem putting off until tomorrow what now becomes today (did you catch that?). It’s not about getting that school paper done a day or two early, being less stressed as a deadline approaches, or making to work on time. Procrastination is important to us as men because ever day we have the opportunity to do great things. Every day we have the opportunity to create a better world in some way, small or grand.

John Ortberg has written, “Every day, every second, carries with it its own finality. Time is out one indisputably non-renewable resource. ‘Where did the time go?’ . . . At the end of every day, one more box in the calendar has been shifted from the future column to the past column, from possibility to history. And all of its moments can be remembered, can be celebrated or regretted, but can never be retrieved.”

Every day. Every twenty-four hours. Every 1,440 minutes. Every 86,400 seconds. We have the opportunity to write a story. Every 86,400 seconds we have the opportunity to rise up, to shed our timidity, to do great things. Every 86,400 seconds we have the opportunity to change the world. Every 86,400 seconds we have the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better. Every morning we wake up and the day ahead of us is in the future column, full of possibility.

I don’t know about you, but I regret the number of days that have moved into the history column without causing a blip on the radar. I regret the number of times I aspire to do great things only to let my day be determined by my email and cell phone. Or the number of times I think to myself, ‘You know, when things just calm down a little I’ll have time to work on something like that. When I’m out of this stage, or out of that stage, by the time I’m ____, then I’ll pursue my noble cause.’

I want to remind us this morning of our mission to make this world the world it was designed to be. It’s is a new day, a new 86,400 seconds, with new possibility. And the time is now.

Now in 86,400 seconds very many things can be done. What will you do?

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Categories: A First Faint Gleam

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