I grew up with the absolute knowledge that there was a time and place for everything. Serviettes belonged on the left, just under the fork, you used the flatware on the dinner table outside inwards, and to speak in church except when spoken too was breaking the rules. The list was long but I do not remember it being a burden. Following was the price every kid was supposed to pay, almost like an entry fee into an orderly and proper society.
Somewhere along the way I also learned the sheer joy of doing things outside the rules. Jokes were funny, almost anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. You could take them too far but getting near the edge was exciting and joyful! Exploding rockets outside of a church meeting had a funny side. Planting an aging fish in a friend’s car could be seen for the loving act it was! Planting trees in another drive way? Isn’t that what everyone does on Sunday night?
Along the way there were a few lessons that have stuck with me. The lessons follow the story line that we never know what is going to happen next. Even John of Jesus’ time was involved in odd occurrences. First, “these conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time. The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out.” (John 1.28, 29) Who knew or knows what is going to happen next. As a result I have a few new rules related to time and place.
There is always space and time for a laugh everyone enjoys.
There is never a time and place where an apology, intentionally from the heart in a manner that doesn’t make things work, should wait.
Engaging in life is a full-time, 24×7, role. Compassion, mercy, and love are as much a part of who we are as our hands, eyes, and feet. To ignore one of our limbs is a waste of life.
We have time and place. It’s called “now”.