I’ve been in kitchens where the little hands that pull the too-heavy gallon of milk from the refrigerator slip and the liquid spills in glugs. It feels like gold, almost, leaked onto the tile in front of the dishwasher.
No one can retrieve it or put it back into a container for drinking. It must be mopped and sopped and put into the garbage or the rag into the washing machine to be clean for the next mess.
Spilt milk really is wasted milk.
We are told to conserve water here in California. They say we are in a drought and that our Sierra snow pack is a tiny percentage of what it normally is in February. They tell us that our rivers will dry up if we aren’t careful. So we’ve grown up shutting off the water when we brush our teeth and old habits die hard. So we conserve water because not conserving is waste.
Faucet on with clean drinking water running down the drain is wasted. Even though the source of the water feels never-ending, we should really pay close attention so we don’t waste.
To waste means to discard, to get rid of, to use up for no reason at all. Wasted things are gone forever, like water down the drain or spilled gold in front of the dishwasher.
Spending something is another way to use something, but in spending something we do not wasted it. We spend it for a purpose.
When I get to the end of the olive oil or the bottom of a good glass of wine, it isn’t wasted. It has been spent. When I fall down after a long day of mothering and writing and cooking and do-ing for my family, my energy has not been wasted. No. Instead it has been spent. When I work for hours on a piece of writing or on a talk I’m giving, I might feel like the time and the soul-power has been wasted, but it has not. It has been spent for good and creative things.
There is a distinct difference between wasted and spent.
Let us keep that in mind in this world when so much is wasted. Where we toss and discard and throw away words and thoughts and hearts. Let us keep in mind that we can waste our words and our time easily, but in the same space of an hour we can also spend them well.
When we love. When we cherish. When we give away our hearts, these are spent things. When we let our children climb up on laps — this is time spent well. When we listen, full-faced to our spouses, our people, we spend our attention, our energy, not waste it.
We have eternal
Resources at our fingertips every day.
So let us spend each part of our lives in wild ways. Let us spend our time, because unlike coins, our hours cannot be saved. Let us spend our hearts and our words each day because these cannot be built up either. And every good word, open heart and willing hour we spend is NOT wasted. Don’t be fooled. It is spent and spent well.
They are doubled up and made into something eternal. I promise you.
What are you wasting? What are you spending?