There is not a lot you can do in just twenty-two minutes. It’s not long enough to watch a TV show, and you can’t drive hardly anywhere, or make it through the checkout stand at a busy grocery. I can get dressed and out the door in that time, but my wife? Not a chance. Most people connecting to their Facebook page, talking on the phone, or checking email go over twenty-two minutes easily. What is twenty-two minutes worth, anyway? The average person worldwide lives about 64.3 years. This would be 33,819,228 minutes; what can possibly come from only twenty-two minutes of that?
Almost 2 years ago, I asked a friend of mine who was coming off cancer treatment if he wanted to take a weekend and go with me fishing, and he said no. He told me how he only had a certain number of Saturdays until his son was 18 (he gave me the exact number), and said that he really did not like to miss any of them. Wow, that really took me off balance. How could someone be so in tune with their life, their time left here? It had to be the reality that came with knowing that he could go at any time, that his cancer could have taken him out of his son’s life. Can a regular person, who does not fear imminent death or a tragic event, come to the same realization?
God spoke to me that day. I realized that one of the things which I considered a hassle, driving my then 14-year-old to school each day, needed to be looked at differently. That as the youngest and only one left at home, my son would in just two years walk out to his own vehicle and drive himself to school. I needed to change my way of experiencing mornings with him. God pressed in on me; I was not sure of what it should look like, but knew that somehow those twenty-two minutes a day had to matter more.
For the next two years I was there to drive him, and then to drive with him when he got his learner’s permit. No matter how far away I went or how late my travels brought me in, I was standing at the front door, ready to roll, in the morning. The first while we would just talk, and then I started reading a daily devotional. It was all good but it never felt just right. Then we found The Knight’s Code by Robert Noland, and began to take turns reading it on the way, and talking about what we read. We designated the last stretch of the drive a “prayer road” and prayed each day for a good day and more.
Now, it was not always some pretty, Spirit-filled sanctuary in that truck. Not by a long shot. We took turns being really crap-heads to each other and on the days we were both that way, well, look out. But for the most part I think it made a difference; at least it did to me. We talked about some serious topics and had a few really good moments where I felt God’s presence.
A couple weeks ago I found an old Dodge pickup. It was a good deal and fit what our vision and our budget could handle for his first truck. Then, last Tuesday I walked him to the end of the drive and watched as he loaded that old Dodge pickup with his baseball gear, his backpack and his lunch, and then he drove off, alone, to school. I was awash in emotions; still am.
As the days crept by I could not help wonder if there was anything, anything at all, that he took away from our morning commute time together. One day he volunteered to drive me to the store to get some things his mom needed. As we drove along, I noticed he had a towel on the console between the seats and a pack of baby wipes in the slot on his driver’s door. Those were things I have always done in my truck, for years. I had to wonder: if he picked up on that, what else did he get? Did he hear the part about keeping God first, keeping a “band of brothers, truth, honor, and respect”?
Now, I am trying to figure out what to do with that time each morning. I used to go to the coffee shop and write, read, and meet folks after I dropped him at school. Now, everything seems off balance. I have started going to the gym a little, which I do not like, and running at the park, which I do like. I replaced my broken bird feeder and filled it. I enjoy sitting on the porch, drinking coffee and watching the birds. But I just don’t feel like I know what I am supposed to do. OK, Lord, what’s next? I’ve got time… twenty-two minutes, to be exact.