Friday, April 26, 2024

The Passage of Time

Time is a unique concept. There's nothing else like it. Tick tock goes the clock.

We have all sorts of terms for it, such as when it goes slow:

  • Hurry up and wait
  • A watched pot never _____ (finish the sentence)
  • It's like watching paint dry
  • Are we there yet? (a personal fave)
And then there are moments when we can't keep up. As if someone just turned up the tempo and we were caught off guard:
  • Time flies
  • Where did the time go..? (as if it's some commodity that we hold in our hands)
  • I'm late! I'm late (said the White Rabbit)
The past two months of preparing, packing, filling out forms, getting all the necessary vaccinations (sometimes four in a day), updating records, and considering what we can bring must fit in two duffel bags, a carry-on bag, and a backpack (per person) is a new exercise. Rumor has it that there's no Amazon two-day shipping.

My youngest once asked me, "Daddy, why can't we go now?" I believe she was dealing with both the excitement of wanting to go and also learning to navigate the liminal space she's in—that we're here but leaving. We're crossing a threshold in the doorway between two very different rooms. 

In other words, time works oddly around our house. As it is, it's shortly after 5AM because I couldn't sleep. But most of our days are sprinkled with "hurry up and wait," such as getting a form or needing to purchase tickets, followed by long periods of preparations (re-painting parts of the house, landscaping, determining the clothes for a hot and very humid life). One of the harder — yet more "goodness" filled — parts have been passing the time with the kids as they grow and mature into older versions of themselves. 

So how do we, as humans, interact with and consider time while in periods of waiting? There are times in our lives when all we do is wait — for that promotion, for our wedding day, for the results to come back from the hospital, the keys to our new home, the birth of our child or grandchild — and gain energy from the eagerness and excitement, or despair and dread if we're worried about it. The words "...but godliness contentment is great gain" come to mind. It is applied to wealth (be content with what you have), but perhaps we can apply it to time, especially considering we treat it as a commodity. 

When we're young, we think we have an endless supply. We see it more as slipping through our hands like water as we age. What if we saw waiting as a gift? As if time were something to be treasured instead of sped up when it would otherwise be an inconvenience?