Monday, January 25, 2010

Time Measured

I love clocks—the gentle ticking away of time as it measures our lives. Generally time is so orderly, so precise, so fair, so unprejudiced. Time marches us along like a well-disciplined John Phillip Souza holding us to the beat. Once in a while time slows down as though it were obeying a ritardando sign like when you’re in a dentist’s chair, for instance, or trying to get over a great sorrow. It can also be hurried along with an accelerando when you’re having an unbelievably wonderful time or facing a difficult deadline. Time can even stand still fermata-like or so dramatic stories tell us. Usually, though, time is at “a tempo”, steady and persistent.

My day goes so much better when I allow the clock to work with me. It keeps me on task and helps me focus. I always wear time on my wrist so I can say, “I only have to put these papers away until the big hand is on the ten.” Or “I will concentrate on writing this article for eight minutes and then I can do something else.” Or “I’ve got to leave in half an hour. I’d better get ready.”

When I let the clock be my friend, I can take advantage of the little snatches of time that it often permits. While something is heating in the microwave for 30 seconds for example, the silverware compartment of the dishwasher can be emptied. Or in the ten minutes before a guest is expected, a vocal solo can be practiced or a phone call can be made. My husband, Brad, keeps his juggling balls in a kitchen drawer and when he passes by he stops for a moment to practice his juggling. These well used bits of time have enabled him to finally keep three balls going quite impressively, the success of which didn’t look too promising when he first started. With a little thought, great things can be accomplished in a few moments here and a few moments there.

This clock watching mania might be a total mystery to some, but there are so many fabulous things to do in life and time is running out. I want to grab each minute and squeeze the very most from it. I mean, when you reach the unbelievable age of 60, you finally have to face the fact that you’re reaching the finale. When there are still so many things left to do, every measure counts and I want to play each of them well.

It is quite mind expanding to consider that each day, hour, minute or second will only get to be lived once in all the eons of time. I think we owe it to those intervals to use them in the best way possible because none can ever be retrieved. There are definitely some days that I am more than glad to be done with, but there are some amazing past days that I wish I could reclaim. I would put them in a bank and pull them out once in awhile to relive and savor. I wish those days came with a repeat sign.

It is my understanding that when our hours here are finally spent we will go to a place where there is no reckoning of time. That is way beyond my ability to imagine. No clocks? No watches? How will I focus? How will I motivate myself? How can I function without a to-do list and a time frame to do it in?! I hope all the rests aren’t saved for Heaven because even there I’ll need things to do. I’ll need deadlines to meet. I’ll need new ideas to absorb and new skills to conquer. The clock here helps me do those things. I’m sure the greatest of all Composers has it figured out so that we can continue to progress without the aid of time. He must. He seems to have figured everything else out pretty well. Until then: as soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to practice the guitar until the big hand is on the four!

1 comment:

The Wiltbanks said...

So that explains it!! "In the 10 minutes before I need to get Kelli from school I can pick up the dry cleaning, return a library book, run into Costco, brush up on my Spanish, gas up my car, organize photos, compose a sonata, and make a quick trip to the moon!!" Sometimes it's OKAY TO BE 10 MINUTES EARLY!!