by: Dom Devine
Time is one of our most precious resources. It’s ironic that we spend so much of our life worrying about how much money we have and yet don’t hesitate to waste so much of our time on things that have little to no value. We spend hours binge watching Netflix, having superficial conversations, and entertaining ourselves at the cost of fulfilling or edifying ourselves.
Let’s face it, our time is far more valuable than our money, because we can use our time to make more money, but we can’t use our money to make more time. The sad news is that we each have a limited number of heartbeats, but the good news is even though we may not get to choose how many we have, we always have the freedom to choose how we spend them.
I have been blessed to spend a lot of time traveling all over the world and meeting wonderful people from every kind of faith and background. I have met Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, and agnostics. I have enjoyed the conversations and times I have spent with them and I love them even though we often disagree on important issues and beliefs. I love people! Even when I don’t always love their words, actions, or opinions.
I am unashamedly a “Jesus freak.” Most people I meet think I’m crazy for forfeiting all my money, time, and a family of my own to love people full time, and that’s okay with me. I need neither their permission nor their approval to love them the way I believe God is asking me to, and that’s with a radical, self-giving love. However, I don’t think being passionate about what I believe requires me to argue with others about what they believe. I love to dialogue, but dialogue only bears good fruit when it’s done with charity and mutual respect.
Although most people disagree with my beliefs, I have found more room for common ground than division. Most people agree no one is perfect and that we each have our own stories, problems, faults, and pain. Most believe in the existence of some kind of deity. Most agree that there is more good than evil in the world and that there is hope for humanity. Most people want to live a meaningful and impactful life that betters the lives of those around them.
My purpose in writing this article is not to bash anyone else’s beliefs, but to help us find a common ground where people of all different beliefs and backgrounds can come together in unity to serve and love those around them. We build community and society the same way we build a house: by laying a firm foundation.
We need to come together now more than ever. In this crazy time of a worldwide pandemic and all the turbulence of fear and anger in our society, we need to make time to love. Love needs to be our foundation. We cannot afford to hate other people because we are passionate about what we believe in.
Hatred is only overcome by love, division by unity, and violence by peace. Thankfully for us God is not asking us to do His job for Him by loving and serving everyone in the whole world. All He’s asking is for us to love and serve everyone He brings into our lives, with every single one of the gifts and talents He has given us. He won’t ask us to give more than we have, but He will ask us to give all that we have. We each have different gifts and different spheres of influence, but in music difference is what enables harmony, and in life it’s diversity that enables complementarity. Unity doesn’t mean being the same as everyone else, unity means that our differences are complementary.
As a Catholic I believe “God is love” and if we want to grow in love of God then we need to set aside time to spend with Him (1 John 4:17). Time is the currency of love, so we cannot say we love someone if we don’t spend time with them. Quality time and authentic communication are the pillars of every relationship and the keys to growing in love.
We need to learn to communicate with God honestly and openly and not just recite words at him and ask him for his stuff. We need to learn to listen more than we speak. After all, He gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason. This kind of love and quality time can and will deeply affect the way we love people because God loves people and the more time we spend with him the more united to Him we become.
God loves people, He loves our humanity and our diversity. He is eager to forgive our faults and failures and heal us from the painful wounds and disordered perspectives that cause them. He is a patient and relentless lover and Father and He wants to help us learn to love and serve those around us.
Maybe God is not calling you to sell your house or car, change your career, or do something crazy. Maybe He is, that’s really between the two of you. But I can guarantee that God would love it if you invited him into the everyday, ordinary circumstances and relationships of your life. Why not set aside 10 minutes of your morning to ask God a question that bothers you? Or his help with a problem you’re facing? Or 10 minutes before bed to tell him about your day? Why not pick a day this week to call a friend of yours whom you haven’t talked to in a while or someone you know who is suffering right now? Not because you have the answers or the best words of advice, but just to let them know you care for them and that they’re not alone in their suffering.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every moment is an opportunity to sow a seed of love that bears fruit in someone’s life and in turn, the lives of all those connected to them. There will always be challenges and obstacles to unity and charity in our lives, but each one of them is also an opportunity. If we can focus on doing the small things with great love, then God will know He can trust us to do the big things. If we can focus on growing in interior peace and charity within our own hearts and relationships, we will see it spread through our communities.
An abundant, fulfilling life doesn’t necessarily need to be filled with lots of money or pleasure. It is the life of a person who’s relationships are filled with a radical love that gives generously and joyfully. May God give us the grace to use our time well, by focusing on what matters most. We can agree to disagree with mutual charity and respect. We can be passionate about what we believe in and maintain a spirit of peace. We can hope for the best, in the midst of pain and trials. And we can grow in love of God and one another, by setting aside time to spend with them, and to communicate with them in love. Life is too short and too precious to waste; Loving is the best way we can spend our time and heartbeats.
A love song that Dom wrote and performed:
Dom is a Catholic religious brother in the Family of Jesus. He serves in various ministries in Puerto Maldonado Peru but his favorite is youth ministry. He loves God, people, music, reading, and sports. You can follow his faith-and-fun-filled adventures through South America (and the rest of the world) on his Instagram at @devinedominic