Quantity time. Not a notion we hear much about. No, quality time is what is heralded these days. Quality time goes something like this: as long as we have short-ish segments of good quality time with people now and again (i.e. our children, spouse, etc), then we\’re fulfilling our commitment to them, we\’re bound to have an intimate, healthy relationship with them.
Yesterday, in a parenting class at our church, the speaker flipped the tables and spoke about how much quantity time matters. Being present and available in even less than eyeball to eyeball times makes a huge difference. Children need their parents present more than just sometimes.
I reflect on God…He is so into quantity time, isn\’t He? I mean, He is with us all the time whether or not we see/hear/sense Him, whether or not we turn and take a moment with Him. He actively wants to be with us, not in a co-dependent relationship where He needs us to see Him, where He gets something from us (He is not a parasite), but in a supportive, live-giving way. I dare say, He thinks we\’re swell, loves us to the core and wants to shoot the breeze with us. Of course, there is more He desires for us and for His Kingdom (He is infinitely more than Buddy Jesus), but I do think just being with us may be one of His greatest joys.
The speaker also noted that quality time often stems from quantity time–it is not an either/or but a both/and. Quantity time coupled with an open heart leads to unrehearsed, unscheduled quality time. Some of the best quality time I\’ve had with my kids has been in the car, or just hanging out after dinner. Lingering, openness, unhurried-ness all help create a space where quality time can happen. If our kids don\’t see us around, or only see us blurring by, they undoubtedly have a difficult time feeling connected to us, they undoubtedly feel they aren\’t as important as what we\’re off doing. What we do sends messages that speak louder than anything we ever say…
I\’ve heard people refer to God in a similar way: \”He\’s not answering my prayers or isn\’t interesting in my problem because He has bigger issues to deal with. Look at the wars, the starving, those hit by catastrophe….\” Yeah, some of us assume that God our Father sets us second to \’real issues\’. Maybe we say those things because that is how we parent or were parented. Maybe we put our kids\’ needs second to more \’pressing\’ issues, bigger problems. Maybe our needs as children were pushed to the side for more \’important\’ things. I can\’t speak for God, but I do know He is heavy into relationship and that through relationship with Him bigger issues are dealt with… Maybe if we started parenting like God, things would come out right, bigger issues would be addressed, for we\’d have healthier young people facing them instead of feeding them.
So, I look inward a bit and realize I often tuck Jesus into a quality time slot only. I forget that He is with me always, I forget that He is in my perpetual \’now\’. Conversely, I lapse in continually looking Up into His face, I ignore His presence, His love, His care, His guidance. I sidestep quantity time and expect Him to fill the quality time I set up for the two of us. Even though He is perpetually present to me, I fail to be perpetually present to Him. I guess I think I have more pressing issues to deal with than to be continually present and available to Him.
The two \”Q\” times evidently hold hands in our most valued relationships. I guess the question is: do we have any of those?
(Contemplative prayer update: guess this sort of prayer would be slotted as quality time. I\’m in the dumps here, not making the time consistently. Although, I must say there is an abiding awareness of Him with me–which sounds a lot like quantity time is happening)