Jesus and jellybeans

Happy November friends! Amazing that the winter season is already upon us, but if anything it puts us in a position to reflect on how we’re spending our time, when it seems to be going by so quickly. To help us do that, I’d like to share with you something that one of the student groups that I supervise shared with the class that they facilitate. 

In a lesson on time management, a YouTube video was shown that breaks time down via jelly beans. That’s right, jelly beans. The video is literally called, “The Time You Have (In Jellybeans)” and I encourage you to look it up when you have a free moment as it will provide you with a wonderful visual of just how much time we have. Anyway, the narrator begins with a pile of 28,835 jelly beans — one for each day that the average American will live.

He starts by separating the first jelly bean, symbolic of our first day and then adds 364 more, creating our first year. He then goes on to take away 5,475 more jelly beans, what becomes our first 15 years and, as it is referred to in the video, when we are upon the threshold of adulthood. From this point forward, this is what we’ll do. We will sleep for approximately 8,477 days; eat/drink/prepare our meals for 1,635 days; work for 3,202 days; travel for 1,099 days; watch television for a total of 2,676 days; perform household activities for 1,576 days; care for others (our family members and friends) for 564 days; spend 671 days focused on personal hygiene; and devote 720 days to community activities such as religious/civic duties, charities, and taking classes. Phew! 

So after all of that there remain approximately 2,740 jelly beans. The narrator then asks us what we’re going to do with that remainder. He continues to break it in half, asking us again, what we’ll do with that remaining time and then challenging us to think about how much time we’re wasting by worrying about what we’re actually going to do. Finally, with one jelly bean left on the screen, he asks, what if you just had one more day. What are you going to do today? 

So why do I share the message of this video with you and how am I tying our faith into this? First, when I think of those numbers, I think of all of the things that I do that aren’t those things. I think about the midterm I just took and the class project that was done one week later. 

I think about my weekly reflection papers and the journaling I do for one of my other classes. I think about trivia on Tuesday nights and the speakers that come to campus that I make an effort to hear. I think about meetings with my advisor and trying to catch up with mentors in my program. OK, so being the foodie that I am, the 8,477 days spent in quality time with food does not surprise me nor upset me. 

But when I take stock of everything that happens outside of those accounted for, it comes down to relationships and my relationship to or with food is something different. Who I’m truly in relationship with are my group members for my study groups, midterm, and group project. My journal highlights the professional network I am growing on- and off-campus. Tuesday nights with my cohort members are spent building on a bond that we’ve been developing since first meeting one another in August. 

Basically, it comes down to taking time to make time. This brings me to my second point. According to the video, on average, 720 days of our life are spent in community activities, inclusive of religious activities — 720 days. In the grand scheme of things, doesn’t this seem a little bit, well, low? What time are we taking to make time to be with Christ, to nurture that bond that begins for some on the day that that first jelly bean is separated, and for others, at some other point in the 28,835 days of their life? If we truly make this effort to be in relationship with Christ, then all 28,835 of those days will be enriched by the love we’re seeking and giving. 

If we’re not, is it time to reassess how we’re spending our time? What are our motives, our dreams, our aspirations for the life we live and what are we doing with our time to achieve those things? Furthermore, are we asking Christ to be a part of all of this? Going into the holiday season I hope this offers a chance for reflection not only on how we’re spending our time, but also if we’re including Christ in something so precious.

Anchor columnist Renee Bernier is a Stonehill College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

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