This week I decided to blog about the mysterious concept of time. I refer to time as a mystery because it really seems to be quite evasive, elusive, and intangible, all at the same time.
When we speak about it, we often make ‘time’ an oxymoron unto itself, in that most of what we say about ‘time’ is full of contradictory terms and paradoxes. If we think of all the ‘sayings’ there are about time, consider these:
Time moves slowly. Time stands still. Time marches on. Time flies by.
Lost time is never found again. We find time to do the things we love.
Time can only do so much. There’s nothing time can’t fix.
Time changes everything. Nothing changes but time.
Time is on our side. Time is against us.
Time, to us, certainly seems to be a contradiction in terms. In a sense it’s kind of like we never really know exactly what we want from the concept of time:
We have nothing to lose but time. There never seems to be enough time, we are short on time, or we have given too much of our time already.
We chase time. We race time. We push the limits of time, and we want time to stop.
We make time. We take time. We check the time. We even kill time.
We have all the time in the world. We pray for more time. At some points, we wish that time will pass quickly. At other points, we wish that time would slow down.
We wonder what we should do with our time. We consider what time we have left. We wonder when our time will be up.
We can even make time seem like it is omnipotent and has unlimited powers:
Time is love.
Time heals all wounds.
Time fixes everything.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
Time will heal a broken heart.
Things get better with time.
Only time will tell.
Time even dictates how we relate to and describe things, as if they are dependent on time:
Once upon a time…
The beginning of time…
The end of time…
Time is running out.
Time is of the essence.
Here’s what I do know:
Time is a blessing and time can be a curse. Some days time will be on our side, and some days it will work against us. Time is something we cannot control. Time will continue to tick on, just like an hourglass will continue to drop sand as it is turned over.
The flow of sand in an hourglass can be used to keep track of elapsed time. It also concretely represents the present as being between the past and the future. (image and information courtesy of wikipedia.org)}
Time should not be taken for granted, but appreciated for what it is. It is transient and temporary, but at the same time time is permanent and lasting. Time is not static; it is changeable and moving. As much as it might feel like it, time does not stand still, but continues on, hurtling us through life as each second passes by. Some of us believe that time truly changes things, but, in reality, you actually have to change them yourself. Many believe that time heals all wounds – in many cases, the wounds remain the same, they simply become covered with scar tissue in the mind and the pain is less but never really gone.
Albert Einstein said, “Time is an illusion.” We certainly speak of it and have allowed it to become mysterious, paradoxical, and oxymoronic in different ways. Benjamin Franklin stated, “You may delay, but time will not.” Time will continue on, whether we desire it to or not. Perhaps George Harrison said it best when he said, “Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we cannot be certain of it.”
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