How often I use this word in my daily life. When I grow up, I want to be a respectable businesswoman. When I have a steady income, I want to donate money to charities which aid struggling families. When I am a stay-at-home mother, I will spend my spare time volunteering in my community. When I am older, wiser, I want to have a say in the policies that affect my neighbors and me. When I grow up, I want to have an awesomely strong relationship with God. When.
Today’s first reading was like a reawakening for me; I was called back to reality. Like dusty old sheets being lifted off of long-neglected furniture, this reading threw off my excuses, causing me to look at myself in the harsh light of truth. For me, all of the “whens” listed above are- and always have been- excuses. They are arbitrary timeframes, far in the future, which allow me to put worthy goals off in the present. They let me justify what I’m not doing now by ensuring me that I’m a good person; now is simply not the right time to show it.
How wrong that statement is. How could it ever not be the right time to help another in need? How could we ever not have even a few hours to donate to a worthy cause? How can we become so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t care about what is happening in the world around us; aren’t called to action by the injustices shown to others?
And yet, this is where I have remained- where I’m sure many of us have remained- for a long time. We have good intentions, we want to help, but we tell ourselves now isn’t the time. We make excuses.
"Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day." -Sirach 5:8
We must stop procrastinating: stop telling ourselves that tomorrow works better to start going to daily Mass, or after we receive the next raise we will be able to start giving donations to charities. True, good intentions are a start. But to the homeless man in the street, the single mom in need of a friend, the man who just lost his wife to cancer, or even our own relationship with God, our good intentions are meaningless; each day we soothe ourselves with our good intentions is simply another day of neglect.
So, today, let us take the step. Let us write the check, make the call, or whatever action we need to take in order to finally make our good intentions a reality. Will these actions be convenient? Of course not. But we are not called to live a life of ease; we are called to live a life for God.
Who knows if I will ever make it to my “whens.” I don’t know how long I have left on this earth, or what God’s plan is for my life. Of one thing, though, I am certain: I must stop letting my “whens” get in the way of my “now.”