What is your favorite hour of the week? I asked this question the other day on my facebook page after pondering it myself for a few days. A week is made up of 168 hours. With 7-8 hours of sleep a night (bed around midnight, up around 7), that leaves about 120 waking hours a week. Don’t worry, I used a calculator to figure it out.
Of those 120 hours, I couldn’t come up with one hour that I could define as my favorite, but I could think of a few every week that I genuinely cherish.
Sunday 8 a.m. -12 p.m. – Worship.
Okay, so it’s more than one hour, and it’s work. And it’s not always knock-your-socks-off, Holy-Spirit-filled, blow-the-doors-off-the-church worship. But sometimes it is. Sometimes the choir settles me into a peace that I wasn’t expecting. Sometimes the preaching inspires me to think about things in a new way. Sometimes the praise band gets me swaying and clapping my hands. Sometimes the kids singing or dancing fills my heart with unspeakable joy. Sometimes when I kneel at the altar with my wife and daughters, I am moved to tears of joy and sorrow, and I am empowered by God to be a better man. Sometimes I break the bread and share the cup and I know that I am in the very presence of Jesus Christ. Yeah, sometimes worship is just another hour. Most of the time it is so much more.
Monday 8-10 a.m. – Daddy Lucy Day.
Again, not just one hour, but these are two great hours. Monday is my Sabbath, which I guard with great resilience because it is Daddy-Lucy Day. There’s even a Daddy-Lucy Day theme song, which is remarkably similar to the Howdy Doody Song. My wife gets up in the morning and lets me sleep in, which is a remarkable gift. She then takes our daughter kindergarten and volunteers there all morning. This means I get to get two-year-old Lucy up in the morning. I take her first back to my bed, where we snuggle for as much as an hour. Then we go downstairs and I make coffee and breakfast. We sit together and read some books, and watch some Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Sometimes we are out of our pajamas when Sarah gets home. Sometimes we’re not. She never get annoyed if the pile of laundry has not been folded, and smiles at us even if the kitchen sink still has dirty dishes. Those things can be done during a different, less favorite hour. Incidentally, I think this time would be on the list of all four of us. Ellie loves having Mommy with her at school, and my wife loves working with the students. It might be Mrs. Larson’s favorite time of the week too (because Sarah is not only an amazing wife and mother, but an incredibly gifted teacher).
Monday 7-8 p.m. – Volleyball.
When we fist moved to Moline, we were asked to be a part of a co-ed C-League Volleyball team. The team of four couples – all with kids under 6 – have become our best friends. We play hard, but we have a great time. We have an almost perfect mix of competitive spirit and light-heartedness that makes it fun. We like to win, but if we don’t we still have a great time. Plus, we’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years. Next Monday we are playing in the league’s Final Four!
Tuesday 6-8 p.m. Dinner with Friends
Our best friends and their kids come over every Tuesday for dinner. We say grace together, share a meal, then spend an hour or so talking and drinking wine while the kids play. The kids cry, they don’t like their vegetables, they make messes, they don’t share, they fight. We correct them. We don’t judge each other. We clean up. We hug. We share our lives; confess our failures; and celebrate our mundane, everyday triumphs. We laugh and know that next week we are going to do it at their house, and it will be one of the best couple of hours of the week.
Wednesday 5:30-8:00 p.m. – Wednesday Night Alive.
Dinner is at church. After dinner the kids go do music ministries or to the nursery. I lead a Bible study. Leading Bible study is one of my favorite things to do. We sit in couches and chairs and open up the Scriptures to each other. Then we watch the Spirit move.
Friday 1 p.m-? – Hy Vee Salad Bar
One of the highlights of my week has become the Hy-Vee Salad Bar. I bring my computer, books, and a notepad. I eat a healthy, delicious meal. I work. I blog. I read. I drink coffee. I am at my most productive around people. I leave full, but always happy that I passed on the fried egg rolls and pizza. The most unhealthy thing I have at lunch is the cream soup – which is always delicious.
Saturday 11-12 – Yoga
The early part of Saturday is pretty great too, but if at all possible, Saturday morning is going to include Yoga with our favorite instructor Sara. Yoga has become an important practice in our lives. Afterwards we feel stronger, healthier, and refreshed. My flexibility has improved tremendously, and much pain that I was developing from running has abated. It is also a wonderful hour of prayer and reflection as I whisper, “Come Holy Spirit” and breathe. I have had a couple of remarkable spiritual experiences during yoga practice. It is a powerful act of merging my spiritual and physical health.
Okay, so I had a few more than one favorite hour of the week. When I posted my question on Facebook, I received a variety of answers. Many involved times of quiet rest, or even sleep. A few picked the first hour of the weekend, or the first hour of the day. One said “the present one.” The first response was from C, who said, “What a great question! Seems innocuous, but might actually get to the heart of a person!” I think she’s right. People say all the time, “I don’t have time for…” The fact is, we have 120 hours a week and the way we fill them tells us about our priorities. Yes, life can get in the way sometimes. Circumstances can dictate choices that we wouldn’t otherwise make. But sometimes I fear we allow “I don’t have time for…” to be a convenient excuse.
What matters in your life? What do you love about your life? If you don’t have enough “favorite hours” of the week, then maybe it is time to take a hard look at things and start asking some tough questions. Loving God, living well, and doing good should lead to a life that is joyful and full of meaning. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have stress, but if we can hold onto those “favorite hours” then the stress becomes bearable. I invite you to reflect on this question, and as you start to come up with answers, see if there is a common thread or theme. See if there are ways you can multiply those hours. Cultivate “favorite hours,” even if it has to start with “favorite fifteen minutes.” Cherish the time you have, and guard your Sabbath rest.
My week is full of friends, food, family, and the Spirit. My life isn’t perfect, and I’m far from it, but when I look at the “favorite hours” of my week I realize that I am incredibly blessed. I hope you are too.I want to thank Natalie Bannon, who inspired this question in my heart. She writes a blog called Modern Mind Old Soul. Follow her on Twitter @NatalieBannon