“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
One of the challenges of our modern life is sorting through the various pressures, real and imagined, that we face on a daily basis and deciding which ones really matter. While Gandalf’s advice to Frodo might seem overwhelming—what to do with our time is everything, really—it also brings focus to this moment and this day as a microcosm of our entire life.
Or, in the words of author Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”:
“What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.”
How will we spend our time today, and what do our choices tell us about how we are spending our lives?