Time

A remarkable thing happened last night, well, early this morning. I turned over in bed, opened my eyes and looked at the clock. That is not the remarkable thing. What was remarkable was the digital readout was 1:59. And something in my not quite awake brain clicked. I lay, mesmerized, waiting, watching. And then suddenly the readout was 3:00.

Remarkable! I closed my eyes but sleep did not come. How astounding… One hour gone. Where? I’d never see it again.

Time is a grown up thing. It was what adults do. We all measure our lives in milestones. Do we recognize the milestone at the time? A milestone for me was the measurement of time, and when it expanded, when I could tell someone ‘oh, that was weeks ago. I think I was six. Then the little guy at the back of my brain must have put up a post-it note because the first time I said ‘months ago’ I smiled. Another milestone.

Time is immutable. Clocks are a human construct to get us in sync. Clocks are controlling. Time just simply exists. Clocks belie the basics of time.

Bugs me when someone says ‘that’s a waste of time.’ By whose standards? How do you know I’m wasting time? How dare you judge my use of time?

When I was a Manager of Labor Relations and doing some cool work in organizational development an employee came into my office with an issue. I clearly remember saying “I’m not sure I have time, I’ll get that on my calendar” [because that was what you said to deflect] And the employee’s response was ‘if you wanted to do it, you’d do it right now.’ He left my office and I could feel the heat in my cheeks. He was totally and absolutely right. What he wanted done wasn’t interesting. It wasn’t challenging. But, hot damn, it was my job. I dropped what I was doing and worked on his issue. At that moment, my time belonged to him.

Time is not a commodity, although I say my time belonged to the employee, that wasn’t true. That was the best use of my time to accomplish my goal of doing my job well. Doing my job well, got me raises and promotions. Using my time to my benefit is what is important.

Time is a straight line. Even tho I love science fiction, I don’t believe in time travel. I don’t want time travel. Not only would it be confusing–the rules would have to be ironed out absolutely and there is no way in this universe that would happen! You only get to go this way once. Sometimes I get too involved, too harried to remember to value time. Recently I found a prayer attributed to John Cardinal Newman, it reads, in part:

I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has;

whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man,

God knows me and calls me by my name.

God has created me to do Him some definite service;

He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

Time is like that, created by God, given to each of us. Use it well.

Now I have to go turn the three clocks in the house, not connected, to the right hour.