On any afternoon I can walk through Singapore’s Boat Quay and find people without an apparent care in the world. It is an odd scene in many ways. In a setting dominated by tropical weather and friendly establishments, Singapore is also a hub with stress, unending to-do lists, and desires for more than what is possible. You would think that there would be quiet days. In this area, a day with silence would be unexpected and not welcomed.
The oddity is the carefree attitude of those out in the late afternoon. For many, myself included, this is still a prime time-to-work part of the day. Yet for some, it is a free of care afternoon, a textbook fit to one of the definitions of careless. Ironically, it also seems to fit the usual meaning of the word.
Without commentary on anyone specifically, I do wonder if I appreciate time. As I reflect on the scene, I am reminded of times where I have acted without thought. I forgot about my values and priorities and joined in with others “who [apparently] have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.” (Psalm 73.5) While it is good to take a break, is now the time?
Forgive me if my words come across as jealousy or cynicism. I do not intend to convey either. I am struck by the needs around me. I question my willingness to turn my eyes and compassion away from them. I know there is a balance that one can and should have, but have I found it?
Like much in life the answer is found in process and not in a single destination or action. I find myself thinking of the writer who left us with the Psalms. His life reminds me of the following.
Take time to be silent and quiet. It is here that Life will speak the loudest.
Be intentional in all that you do. Reflect, act, and learn from what follows.
Embrace the help of others, God included. We are part of bigger story that matters.