“How did it get so late so soon?”
Not too long ago, I found myself sitting on the sofa, my hand going numb from the weight of my toddler granddaughter who was sleeping in my lap, settling down from the pain of an ear infection.
I was frustrated; I had plans for tasks I had intended to accomplish that morning, though I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. But I knew the clock was ticking, and I felt it like pressing on my spirit like a leaden weight; I wasn’t getting anything done.
But then… I stopped. I listened to Hazel’s sweet inhalation and exhalation, then expanded my awareness beyond just the two of us to hear the birdsong outside my window. I had a sudden realization:
I am simply going to stop counting the years.
It’s not worth it. The angst of aging, the fret of schedules, the tyranny of the clock. I’m weary of agonizing over it. It’s a waste of, well, time, which is too big, too expansive, and too weighty to be carried like a stone shackled to the ankle.
Marcus Aurelius said that time is like a river, it’s become a cliche’ that works: Time is a river everflowing. I choose to stand in that river, letting the cool water lap my calves and its burble tickle my ears. But it’s more.
It’s laughter gurgling. It’s a helium balloon floating. It’s a baseball game played without a clock counting down the seconds of a quarter. It’s the bent clocks of Dali and the poetry of the Psalm where a day is, to the Divine, like a thousand years.
A life without fear of time? Oh, yes.
Certainly, I will keep appointments at their intended times, that’s courtesy and professionalism. It indicates I respect others, and I am all for that. And I’ll be sure to note movie times when we finally get to go back to the theaters.
But quarantine has taught me that time as we have constructed and conformed to it is a cage. Who hasn’t looked at the person sitting next to them on the couch and asked, “What day is it?” at some point since the world paused? We’ve seen what life looks like when not lived with a metaphorical clock hovering overhead like Big Ben in London, clanging to move people along, heads down and destination-bent. I am learning to prefer to meander. To look up. To revel in the time which The Divine One has given me.
Rob Bell, on a recent episode of his podcast, says, “Previously [to Covid], it was, ‘How much can I fit in?’ It was about productivity. But in the future, time will start to mean other things. Like, what can we experience together? The experiences we love most in life are those when we lose track of time. I think in the future we’re going to see people move toward fewer activities, but fuller days.” Days that are less busy, but are richer.
That speaks a truth that resonates with me. It sounds amazing. May your days be blessed with time with those you love, doing what you love, making memories and living a rich tapestry of experiences.