Gaining and Losing: A Reflection for Daylight Savings Time
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:10b-11
An unfortunate confluence of events caused my alarm to go off at 6:15 the morning after the change to daylight savings time. My daughter Ruby had been invited to an early Sunday afternoon birthday party, so I absolved her and Matt from their church attendance that day. Since they needed the car to get to the party, I had to take the train into the city for church: the 7:31 train to be specific, in order to arrive in time to lead Village Time, our Sunday morning educational hour for adults, at 9:15.
I know there are some people who get up early on a regular basis. I am Facebook friends with a local politician, Cid Wilson, who regularly updates his status something like this: “It’s 4:15AM EST in Washington, DC. Time to get up, get energized, and get moving. The road to a successful day starts with an early morning wake up time. I’m motivated and on a mission to make this an achieving Tuesday.” And, yes, in case you are wondering, that is actually one of his status updates. I do not understand early risers. Don’t get me wrong. In the case of Cid, he’s out there fighting the good fight, and I am grateful for that. But really, does he have to do it at 4:15 AM?
So when I got up that morning, it was 6:15 AM, but because of the time change, it was 5:15 AM on my body’s clock. As I walked to the train station in the mild weather and noticed the colors starting to streak across the sky, I started thinking about the things we give up so that we might get something else. On Sunday, I had given up an hour of sleep, but no one will be happier than me that the shift of the clock has made it so going out after supper is no longer an excursion that calls for a flashlight. I love the way that daylight savings time seems to add a whole new period of possible comings and goings and activities to my day. So I lose an hour of sleep, and every day I lose an hour of sunlight in the morning, but I gain that hour of sunlight in the evening: a fair trade-off, I think. And one that is good for me, though I’m not sure how my friend Cid feels about it when he gets up at 4:15.
So we make trade-offs in our lives. Some, like the daylight savings change, we don’t have much control over, although technically we could choose to stay on our old schedule and just be an hour late for things. It’s a choice. But there are lots of other choices and trade-offs we make. There are big choices like whether we should move to a new city or take a new job, and there are little choices of how we will conduct our pretty mundane daily lives. And as we go about our lives, we probably don’t think much about the choices we make, especially if our lives are in a period of stability.
But as I walked to the train station Sunday morning, I thought about the choices we make when we don’t make intentional choices. It sounds paradoxical, but it is true: by not choosing consciously, we are still choosing. It makes me think of when Jesus went fishing with his future disciples. They were probably doing the same thing every day, going out fishing, always throwing their nets into the shallow water. One morning, Jesus finds them washing their nets because they had pretty much given up on the fishing. And he was all like, “hey, why don’t you put your net out in the deeper waters?” And this is extrapolation on my part, but I imagine the disciples being all like, “What? That’s crazy. This is the way we’ve always done it. We always put our nets in the shallow water. The fish weren’t biting all night long. We’re tired, and we’re going to go home and try the same thing again tomorrow.” And Jesus is like, “dudes” (because they were all dudes in the scene), “try something different for a change.”
And so they throw the net out in the deeper waters and catch all these fish, so many that they call their friends over to help them pull in the catch. Then they start freaking out. Peter, who really is kind of overdramatic, throws himself at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me! I am too sinful to be around you.” And then Jesus rolls his eyes at Peter (Okay, there is nothing in the text to suggest that. I’m sure Jesus was very earnest). But Jesus sees that the disciples are freaking out, and he says “Don’t be afraid. If you come with me, I will make you fish for people.”
Choosing to follow in Jesus is just that: it’s a choice. When we choose it, we necessarily un-choose other things: other identities, other ways to spend our time, other self-serving, maybe even self-preserving, priorities. And to give those up can be scary. But when we make that scary choice, faith in Jesus helps us to go about our daily routines better, just like Jesus helps his disciples catch more fish. Once our faith in Jesus has helped us flourish in our daily routines, then I believe he calls us to something even bigger: a way of living that invites even more people into relationship with God.
On this day may you invite the presence of Christ into your life to help you with your daily choices, to make you fruitful in your usual endeavors. But keep your eyes and ears open as well, to the invitation that Jesus might be making for you to put your nets down in deeper waters. And do not be afraid.
Are you seeking this Lent to deepen your relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Visit http://www.churchofthevillage.org/courage-to-transform-poverty/ to find out the ways that the Church of the Village is engaging with its Lenten theme, “Courage to Transform: Poverty.” Join us as we seek to be spiritually transformed, so that we might transform the world into one that fulfills God’s dream of an economy of enough for all people.