On the Religion of Time-Saving Thoughts on Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


The Religion of Time Saving, Thoughts on Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Liturgy of Life


My husband woke us while it was still dark. We threw a few bags in the truck and cranked the windows down. Soon our nostrils were tingling with the scent of salt air. By moonlight we lowered our new purchase, a 1973 Boston Whaler, into the water. Our daughter leapt into her life jacket and we boarded. A brown pelican escorted us out to the Laguna Madre.  On the bay we cut the engine and the momentary silence was replaced with the shouts of gulls arguing over their breakfast and the splashes of jumping fish.  Wide awake now in the damp breeze we watched eagerly as the sun painted the sky.

There is nothing more typical than a sunrise. It happens predictably every day and yet each one is unique and not even the greatest artist can create an image that compares to the majesty of the real thing.  Always fleeting.  Always sacred. Always worth cherishing.

.    .    .

We have been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s, Animal Vegetable Miracle, in the Liturgy of Life Reading Group and she has me thinking about my time and how I spend it. Each day seems to go faster than the one before it. Each night brings a new list of what I have failed to finish.  Life is a race and I desperately need to catch up.


“If we were to find a common religion for contemporary America, we would do well to call it, The Religion of Time-Saving.  We are as a people over-committed, and spread thin.  We complain about the pace and yet every new gadget that promises it will help us save time seems to fail us. We spend our days racing from one obligation to the next spending most of our time hurrying through miserable tasks so that at some point we get to spend a few minutes doing what we enjoy.”


The sunset tells a different story. It is a story that is most easily discovered when slow down enough to watch a plant grow, or take the time to harvest our own apples and make them into sauce for the winter.


Kingsolver says,  “All that hurry can blur the truth that life is a zero-sum equation. Every minute I save will get used on something else, possibly no more sublime than staring at the newel post trying to remember what I just ran upstairs for. On the other hand, attending to the task in front of me-even a quotidian chore-might make it into part of a good day, rather than just a rock in the road to someplace else.”


She goes on to describe the life of one of her farmer friends,

“He uses draft animals instead of a tractor. Doesn’t it take an eternity to turn a whole field with a horse driven plow? The answer, he says, is yes. Eternal is the right from of mind. “When I’m out there cultivating the corn with a good team in the quiet of the afternoon, watching the birds in the hedgerows, oh my goodness, I could just keep going all day. Kids from the city come out here and ask, ‘What do you do for fun around here? I tell them, ‘I cultivate.’ “


As long as we live our days will start with a sunrise, and in us, each day, our Creator is painting a life saturated with His glory, a reflection of His very self, one that is astoundingly beautiful yet will always pale in comparison to the fullness of who He is.  Every sunrise is an invitation to a sacred life that is at the same time novel and mundane.   Always fleeting.  Always sacred. Always worth cherishing. Now we only need to figure out how to accept it.




This post was inspired by my current read, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver as part of the Liturgy of Life Reading Group series. We would love for you to join us.


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