The Merciful Clock
A lot can be said about “time”: that we don’t have enough of it, that it is often wasted, that it is a gift. Time is a funny thing. When you wish it would pass quickly, the minutes often drag. When you cling to special moments, they seem to be over too soon.
There is one truth about time, however, that seems to underscore them all: it goes on.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about “time” and about how its unstoppable nature is truly a mercy and a blessing.
Since I was a teenager, one of the ways I would deal with unpleasant situations would be to think about where I would be 24 hours after the fact. Tough exam coming up? Good or bad, in 24 hours, I would be driving up to the cottage for a week with my family. Sitting down to a big project that doesn’t seem to have an end? Well, after that deadline passes in a week, I’ll probably be right back into the routine of daily life.
It even works when the anticipation of an exciting event looms always just out of reach – days, weeks or months away. When trying to calm my ecstatic pre-wedding jitters at the back of the Church: “In an hour, we’ll be married and driving to the reception!” or “Tomorrow, hard to believe, but we’ll be miles away on our honeymoon!”
What a blessing, that time goes on. Sometimes, I feel that it’s God’s gentle reminder that in the grand scheme of things, we really don’t hold supreme control and neither do the situations or people surrounding us. Tomorrow, we will all be in a different place than we are today.
And to me, that is sanctifyingly comforting.
God’s will for us is to keep moving forward. He does not want us to become stagnant or stunted. He wants us to grow – in holiness and in life – through experiences and relationships. All of this shapes us into the people we are and the people He means for us to become. In this desire for us, time is His tool.
As we enter into these last lazy days of summer, I find myself simultaneously clinging to the slow days of fun and family (and warm weather!), while also yearning for the excitement of the fall, when we embark on a new adventure as my oldest starts school! What a blessed relief that the pace is not up to me, for I would never be able to choose whether to stand still or move forward!
We’re all in the same boat – progressing and growing and marching forward with the clock. It’s a reminder to us that we are temporary and fleeting, but the One in control is forever. It’s a reminder to savour the present. And, ultimately, it’s a reminder for us to contemplate often the inevitable end of time – and the glorious eternity with God that awaits us there.