Copyright © Louis Schmier

Date: Wed 6/27/2007 2:46 AM
Random Thought: "I Don't Have The Time"

“I don’t know how you attend to all those students as you say you do. I wish I could, but I just don’t have the time for them,” a professor wrote me in response to the words I’ve written since my return from China a little more than ten days ago.

“For what do you have time? For what do you make the time?” I asked in reply.

Silence all this past week. Maybe he went off somewhere for a while as I am reluctantly doing literally in a couple of hours for a two week romp through the mid-west this morning. But, four of her words have been haunting me: “don’t have the time.” How many times have I heard and read this limiting and lamenting phrase. How many times did I use those excusing words until I banned them from my vocabulary almost fifteen years ago? So many of us find the time for pursuing that higher degree, for research and publication, for pursuit of grants and presenting at conferences, for doing whatever it takes to get tenure, for that promotion, for that appointment, and/or for that raise. But, when it comes to caring about those individual human beings we lumped together in that stereotyping word, “students,” well …..

So, let me shoot and run, and ask all who would utter these words and would have let them shackle your attitudes and actions, you’re telling this to a cancer survivor who knows that this precious "now" is the only time he has to do something significant? You don't have the time to fill the seconds with all the good an uplifting, supporting, and encouraging word or a simple smile, or an acknowledging "hello" can do? You don't have time to fill the minutes with empathy, kindness, and love? You don't have time to fill the hours with your truest meaning and deepest purpose of service? You don't have the time to fill the days with imagination, awareness, attentiveness, creativity, goodness, and joy? You don’t have the time to reflect upon and articulate a personal vision? You don't have the time to make your efforts follow your vision? You don't have the time to make a difference in someone's life? You don't have the time to leave behind a valuable and significant life?

I am a cancer survivor. I have learned that it is I who has the time; it is I who finds the time; it is I who makes the time. I learned that I decide how to use each minute; I decide how each moment begins, is filled, and ends. I decide how to live, act, think, feel, and experience that instant. You know my cancer made me take my eyes farther off the clock than I had and to look sharper at my personal vision of what I and what I do can be. It showed me that each moment is an intersection of my vision, my experiences, and my potential. That’s what I call a “wow” revelation! It is amazing how that powerful combination casts aside excuses, cuts restraining manacles, energizes each moment, and puts my talents and abilities and blessings to work.

Trust me. If you take the time, make the time, for each student, as Dr. Seuss would say, oh, the places you'll go. You'll discover a whole new level of possibilities; you'll see in every direction magnificent opportunities; you'll find that you'll transform what might be limited plodding burden into a limitless enriching blessing; and, more important, you'll find out who you really are and can become; and, then, you'll have a timeless sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, significance, and joy.

No, it's not counting the minutes that matters; what matters is what you put into those minutes, what you do with, and how you live each present minute that you live that counts.

Does this sound like empty sermonizing? It's really fully teaching--and living!

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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