Essence of Time

It is the kind of adorable kitchen where teacups hang from hooked shelves and hot air is pushed up through art-deco vents in the creaking floors. Coffee is hot in a tin cup painted with delicate flowers.

My heads turns and I look out the window into acres that slowly evolve into crags and gray skies. A filly lopes around her mother in the pasture – stretching spindly legs, thrusting hooves into mud.

The quiet is endless.

Crumby remnants of a lemon cake sit in the little refrigerator. Tomorrow, I will be 22.


I have been savoring Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, for the past few weeks – when I am able to find the time. Now it sits open next to my Bible and tin of coffee.

“Time is only of the essence, because the essence of time is God, I am. This I must consecrate: time.” | Ann Voskamp

I breathe. Time. Where did the time go? Where does it go?

In my heart, “Lauren, time is mine to give. I am giving you time now.”

On this 800-acre ranch in the middle of the Southern California wilderness, I am seeking and finding and consecrating time. A moment separated from university’s own wilderness. A holiday. A moment. A weekend. Fleeting.

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Why do I wish my time away? Why do I rush my time away?

24 possible exposures sit waiting in my Minolta – a thousand in my Canon. Film or digital? Today, I choose film. Today, I choose to carefully frame each moment, to expose them perfectly, to hover over the shutter and… wait. I choose not to wish away each photo that forms itself around me. I slow. I quiet.

And I must continue to wait. Back in the chaos of the city, I am told to be patient. Apparently Southern California has some law against same-day film developing. I must count the time to get my photos back… 3 days, 5, 10. Our impatient society manifests itself in me through dramatic sighs and folded arms.

On campus, texts and emails come in by the minute. Wifi is abundant – not so, the time. I rush from classes to meetings, from meetings to editing, from editing to homework, from homework to bed, and all over again.

Take me back to the ranch. 

Searching, stretching, striving. Now I look for the time again. Where is it hidden in this workaholic’s life?

In illustrated pages of a new journal, I scribble out moments of time for which I am grateful – moments from this weekend at the ranch that made me stop and look a bit closer. Even some moments that are being developed from the film.

Leftover rain dripping from the gutter. A basket of ombre’d eggs in the chicken coop. Diffused light from the window cradling the kitchen. The plane of horse cheekbones warm beneath my hands. Uncontrollable laughter in the pillows with Mama.

Moments, details, beautiful things – they fill time. Time is weighty with potential, but I waste it.

Where is time? It is being devoured by my sin.

Sanctify, redeem, purify my time, Jesus.

When my sin anchors me in bed each morning, may I instead choose to give You time.

God, the time I have is only Yours to give. 

God, give me more time? No, teach me how to utilize time. 

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