When I was young I remember my parents and their friends talking about how it felt as though time was speeding up. I had no idea what they meant. Now that I am about the age they were then, I get it.
Almost every day I find myself wondering where has the time gone? No, really, where did it go? And for that matter, from where does it come? We have all kinds of timepieces – watches, clocks, computers, phones, even the sun – that track the passage of time, but what is it and where is it going so fast?
We say time flies, but it can also crawl. Remember when you were young and waiting to unwrap your Christmas presents? Time teased you by barely moving at all. Then in college when cramming for finals, it blew by at the speed of light. So how can that be? Where is the big Universal clock that keeps changing how we perceive and experience time?
Even though we “have time on our hands” we can’t put our finger on exactly what it is. We can’t hold it, but it can heal us. We can’t see it, but we notice the results of its passing in our faces and we feel it in our bones. We can take our time and we can give our time, but we can also waste it, invest it and spend it, and it feels as though, these days, there is not nearly enough of it.
Our calendars fill quickly, our schedules overflow and before we realize it we have booked ourselves solid with little time for anything or anyone, not even ourselves. And that’s when we need to stop and realize that this illusive thing we call time is really all we have.
You may have heard the story about The Dash, which is really a story about time. That little dash on tombstones separating the dates of our entrance and our exit from this earth represents how we spend the time we have been given. The dash is our lifetime and it’s a good reminder that time is whatever we make of it.
That dash symbolizes the most precious commodity we have and the one thing we may eventually regret not offering when we no longer have the opportunity to share it. To freely give some time to a friend, a loved one, someone in need, or even to ourselves, is a priceless gift, but we get so full of to-do lists and appointments and everything else that we forget to simply make time for those we love.
Maybe it has been awhile since you shared a leisurely lunch with a dear friend. Remember how sharing that time felt so full and rich. How, with time, the conversation wove a tapestry of laughter, of meaning, of love. To make the time and share the time with someone for no reason other than you wish to be in his or her company is one of life’s great gifts and experiences. It’s food for our souls.
Even if you only have the time for a phone call, make it. At least that’s more than an idle click on a “Like” button. At least you are giving something that only you have to give – a little bit of that dash.
With time I now have a better understanding of what my parents and their peers were talking about when they lamented the speed with which it was passing for them. I now want to make it a priority to not miss an opportunity to clear some space, make some time, and invest something real and worthwhile in the people I care about.
After all, the important thing to remember about time is, we really have no idea how much of it we have left.