Saturday, April 11, 2009


Is that number at all familiar to you? It actually has an important meaning to every one of us.

The first thing I was aware of when I emerged from a sound sleep one recent morning, was a very subtle and rhythmic sound. As I attempted to clear my head from the remnants of my early morning dreams, I eventually realized that the sound penetrating my consciousness was the battery driven clock on the wall of our master bath. One tick after the other. Never slowing. Never stopping. A relentless reminder of the passing of time.

That particular morning, I chose to lay in bed for awhile before facing the day. The ticking of the clock, which I normally don't even hear, would not fade. It almost seemed to get louder. So I started thinking about the time that was passing. Sixty seconds for every minute, and 3,600 ticks for every hour. It didn't take long to work the math in my head and realize that the clock would end up ticking 86,400 times in the next 24 hours. Yep! 86,400 is the number of seconds we have available to us every day.

After laying there for awhile longer, I decided not to figure up the number of seconds that I had just wasted by not getting up right away. There was just no point in calculating how much time I would now no longer have to accomplish other things during the day. However, since then I have been strangely aware of clocks ticking.

In my office, I have another battery operated clock. Normally I glance at it throughout the day, but I really don't hear it. Until later that same day. In fact, I sat and looked at it for a short time. The second hand made its relentless trip around the dial several times. If I looked very carefully, I could just see the almost imperceptible movement of the minute hand. The pace of the hour hand, of course, is too slow to be perceived by the human eye. Nevertheless, I was once again confronted with the unstoppable passage of time, and the realization that we all have the same number of seconds to be used in whatever way we choose. We can waste those seconds, or use them wisely.

Do you know anyone who always seems to accomplish so much more than you do with 86,400 seconds? I sure do. There is one guy I know, who is actually in the same business I'm in, and I simply can't believe the things he fits in. Besides running his business, he is in an over 55 softball league, and travels the country playing tournaments. He singlehandedly maintains and landscapes his beautiful yard, he routinely builds things in his wood shop, he vacations with his wife, and he's an active involved grandfather. He also does some community volunteer work, and hosts a two hour call in radio show every Saturday morning. I'm just not sure how he does it all.

I am not intimidated any longer by such a show of resourcefulness, but I am challenged. I'm grateful for the reminder provided now by every ticking clock, to put my 86,400 seconds to more productive use every single day. The ones that are wasted will no longer be available (wouldn't it be nice to have "rollover seconds"?). The ones that are put to productive use will often yield benefits far into the future.

Yeah...those are the ones I want. The productive ones. Let me order up a few million of those. In the meantime, have a great 86,400 seconds.

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