How do you view time? We all looked closely at clocks this weekend as we reset them for Daylight Savings time. This got me thinking about time. Usually I see time as linear and moving too fast. I wish for more time than my 24 hours a day, more years than I’ll have on earth. Time annoys me, irritates and frustrates me with its relentless march forward.
Then I noticed something about this antique clock that I picked up years ago at a thrift sale for $5. It’s beautiful, built into a wood bookcase, and it’s adorned with gold scrolled designs. See?
Now, look at the word proudly displayed across it.
Electric. When this clock was built, electricity was still new enough that it was notable. This clock was new-fangled, fancy, on the cutting edge. Who could have envisioned 2012, when my “watch” is my smart phone and my office “clock” is my computer? More of the clocks I own are decorative than functional. That’s progress. This timepiece is testament to what time can do: relegate us to the category of old, worn, outdated, even if we still have life left in us.
Where do we fit in on the continuum of time, with our few-score years? How do we avoid the stress that comes from wanting to do more and lacking time? How do we keep from feeling overwhelmed by fast-moving time?
Maybe the key is in shifting focus from the big picture to the smaller unit of the day, the hour. What joy lies in the repetitive activities of the everyday? If I can grasp that joy, I can cope better with the years passing. Here’s what G.K. Chesterton had to say about time:
A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.
If we can go through a day and say to ourselves an enthusiastic, “Do it again!” instead of, “Just get through today, just survive,” we’ll turn from frustration to delight. We’ll cultivate that “eternal appetite of infancy” that’s full of wonder. We’ll lean toward exulting in what we once viewed as monotony. It won’t matter that someday the things we value will tarnish and end up in a thrift shop. We will have pulled from the moments what really matters — joy and delight.
Linking up with Sweet Shot Tuesdays and Texture Tuesdays. Photos of my antique clock were processed with Kim Klassen’s textures Revolution and Waterstained.