A grandfather clock in oak which exactly matched my furniture, fit into a corner of my living room perfectly, and was available for garage sale prices. I hovered around it, afraid someone else would snap it up. My son was working for a company where he had access to a truck, and the clock made a careful journey across the city and into my house.
I loved it. It looked so classy, and the single bong on the half hour and hourly chimes were comforting. At the time, I was a widow, and it's rather loud ticking and bonging was like having someone else in the house.
Only one problem. It kept terrible time.
A beautiful piece of furniture, it gained about five minutes every hour. I suppose there are people who, for a price, would fix my lovely clock, but it wasn't a price I was willing to pay. You don't get a fantastic garage sale deal and invest more money into it. At least I don't.
So every few days, I engage in an exercise I call "resetting the bongs." Because the chiming of the clock is coordinated with the time, you can't just resent the time on the clock when it is wrong. If you do, you will have it chiming ten o'clock when the face of the clock says two o'clock. There is nothing worse than a clock which is totally tells the wrong time. After all, what are clocks for?
So I begin the tedious exercise of resetting the bongs. I move the face of the clock forward by half hour increments, until the bongs match up with the real time. BONG (half hour.) BONG BONG BONG. BONG. BONG BONG BONG BONG. This exercise continues until I am finally at the right time. For a day or so.
There are times when I think I need my bongs reset.
I am my father's daughter when it comes to time. My father was only late for things when my mother was involved, and it drove him nuts. The routine when getting ready for any event: Dad got himself ready and paced by the door a good half an hour before the earliest possible time to leave. Every five minutes, he sent me to my mother to try and hurry her up. Mom would be sitting at her vanity table in her slip, putting on her "face." Nothing or no one would hurry her up. After the makeup came the dress, the jewelry and the shoes. By the time she was ready, I was a stressed out bundle of nerves, and my Dad--well, we won't go there,
I guess I could have gone either way, but I am Daddy's girl. I arrive at work just after 7:30 most days, when I start at 9:00. I'd rather miss something than walk in late. I have an inner disdain for people who are always late. I keep my feelings to myself, but lateness severely annoys me.
I need my bongs reset.
Of course, punctuality is a virtue. But it's not a god. I recognise in myself a subtle smug attitude. I think it's respectful of everyone's time to be prompt, but it doesn't make me a better person in the core of my being. It doesn't give me the right to judge someone who is late, or allow irritation to cloud my feelings for them.
Much more important is how I use the time God gives me. Each day is a gift, and He wants me to use it wisely. It makes me cringe, but judging someone who is late for a meeting is not how God wants me to use the time He gave me today. Ouch.
Lord, remind me today that I am responsible for me, my attitudes, my self-talk and how I spend the days you give me. "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Ps.90:12 ESV