I readily admit writing this piece for the Informer seems to come around very quickly, but in reality it is only every four weeks. Perhaps like you, I feel life is going faster and faster, and there are not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. I know this is just in my imagination and reality is very much the opposite. The idea that life is going faster, is an illusion, for the concept of time created by us humans, is constant and does not change. Yet, I often attempt to do more and more with my waking hours, and then wonder why I feel so weary, tired, lacking energy and vitality. The question of time and how we use it is a fascinating subject and also has ramifications for how we care for our own soul. For like sand in the hourglass, are the days of our lives.
Courtesy of Google’s’ Wikipedia, Time may be defined as: A measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time is often referred to as the fourth dimension, along with the three spatial dimensions of up /down, left /right and forward / backward.
Ancient civilisations measured time through the cycles of the sun, moon and the planets to determine the best times for planting crops and harvesting. Ancient Egypt around 1500 BCE saw the development of various time measuring devices like the Candle Clock, the Water Clock and the Sundial believe it or not, was invented to help priests with their daily rituals of religious worship. The earliest mechanical clocks where developed around 1275 CE with the first pendulum clock built in 1656 CE.
The on-going development of measuring time has now shifted into electronic timepieces of varying styles and varieties. Each smartphone, tablet, iPad, or computer has an inbuilt clock, which is so programmed to adjust itself when the clocks go forward or back, without any human intervention. Having a watch on our wrist or a clock in our home is something we may even take for granted. Yet, we need to know the time of the day for the living of these days. We may know the time of the day or night down to the last second, but how do we use the time we have, is the key question.
Time, is a human construct, which helps us keep track of past events and predict future events. But, ultimately, we only live in the NOW, this present moment. When we remember past events, people or treasured memories, we always remember in the present, never in the past. Likewise, when we imagine the future it is in the present, never in the future. This means the only moment of time, that we have, is this moment, this NOW.
I find this approach helpful, for over the next months in our communal life we will experience change, beginning with Roxy concluding her internship with us on Sunday 22nd November. (However, her farewell will be at Café Church on Sunday 20 December). I know some of you thought Roxy was an ideal person to be our new minister upon my retirement. This was not to be. But we do rejoice in Roxy’s appointment as Chaplain at St Cuthbert’s and pray that she will be a blessing and be blessed in that part of God’s Kingdom.
When we go through change, we can be assured that moments of loss, uncertainty and difficulty may also make their presence felt from time to time. We may even look at the past through aching eyes of longing for what once was or what we have lost, or, we look at the future through fearful eyes. If we look at the NOW, this moment, as an opportunity for living one day at a time and enjoying one moment at a time. What a wonderful opportunity we are given to appreciate and delight in the gift of life in this NOW moment. Also, this living one-day and one moment at a time will mysteriously develop our inner resources, so we may make healthier responses to the changes that life brings across our pathway.
So may this final month with Roxy, be one in which we stay in the NOW, honouring all that she has brought, becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings, expressing them honestly and respectfully and not letting the power of the past or the fear of future prevent us from delighting in all the good things Roxy’s offers us this month.
Also, and this is very important, as followers of Christ, we travel together along the WAY, believing that God is with us in the darkness and the light, in moments of joy and sadness. Even though at times we are unable to see the pathway ahead, we walk on with hope in our hearts, for we will never walk alone.
I leave you with these well-known words:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.