I was recently reminded of a story a friend told about a young mother he knew. Sophie and her sister both lived in a large town, though on opposite sides – a twenty minute journey by car. Both were young mothers, busy with family commitments, the school run, part-time jobs and all the rest. As a result, although living fairly close, they rarely saw each other or, indeed, even spoke on the phone. They knew where each other was in case of need, but that was about it. This severely worried their mother, who lived several hundred miles away and one day Mum quizzed Sophie as to when she had last seen her sister. “About six months ago”, came the answer. Mum was not pleased.

old lettersShortly afterwards, Sophie received a letter from her Mum as she often did. Her mother didn’t do email but remained very good at the traditional forms of communication, and regularly wrote to both her daughters. This letter, however, was different. Firstly, it was addressed to both sisters rather than just Sophie. And, secondly, she had only included pages one and three. “This is odd”, Sophie thought. “Is Mum beginning to go senile? Is there something I’m missing? Does something need to be done?”

She rang her sister with her concerns. “Mum seems to be going a bit strange”. Her sister, however, only laughed. “That explains a lot”, she said. “I had a letter from Mum today, too. My envelope, however, only contained pages two and four.” And it dawned on the sisters that Mum, far from becoming senile, was actually being very astute. She had created a situation in which both sisters had to get together if they were going to read the complete letter. And so they did. They arranged to meet up for coffee and had a great time piecing together Mum’s letter, reading her news, and sharing their own news with each other.

coffee cupsAs time went on, Mum continued to send such letters – and the sisters continued to get together for coffee and the chance to piece Mum’s letter together. Suddenly, finding the time to meet seemed to be no problem and they had a lot of fun, and enjoyed a far better relationship, as a result. Mum was pleased, too!

There is often much more time for things than we think. What often stops us from doing things is not lack of time, but we ourselves getting stuck in a rut, or not having the imagination or will to try different patterns, or being afraid of something new.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us there is a time for everything: a time to be born, a time to die; a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. And a time for God. What can you make time for this summer?

God bless!

Jonathan