A Change of Time

It’s the new year and a change in the calender. Most people feel as though a change of time and the way in which we mark time has a seemingly mystical change in our lives as well. This is true of the individual (with our New Years resolutions ‘This year, things will be different’), but also of the human family as a whole. We feel that since we are further along in time, that somehow that means we are smarter, better, more advanced in various ways etc. However, the reasons for thinking this way can actually be deceptive. Though it is true that technology has progressed with the passing of time, there is nothing really “new” about this. If you look at history and the progression of civilizations (which have come and gone btw), there have been moments and eras that have been large leaps forward in terms of progress in various areas of life. However, most of the civilizations we can study since the writing and recording of History have seemed to progress to the point of self-destruction. This sort of worship of Progress (with a capital P) has been the pride of the elite and those who benefit from the advances that come with a focus on progress, be it political, social, economical or whatever. The truth of the matter is that there is still a huge unbalance in the distribution of benefits from the progress that time can bring to certain civilizations. Some are obese and suffering from having too-much while others are dying of starvation. This alone should have us suspect of the illusion that Progress can create. But, I digress, because I want to really just focus on the way we view “Time” itself and set the groundwork for the thoughts that went into two of my poems; Watershed Moments, and Momentary, both of which deal with the theme of Time.
It was C.S.Lewis in his book, The Abolition of Man, who said, “Notice how we are perpetually surprised at Time. (’How time flies! Fancy John being grown-up and married! I can hardly believe it!’) In heavens name, why? Unless, indeed, there is something in us which is not temporal.” This immediately brought my mind to the book of Ecclesiastes where the poet reminds us that God has placed Eternity in our hearts that we should long for life beyond just our time here under the sun. Lewis went on further to say that this constant surprise at Time would be the equivalent of a fish being constantly surprised by the wetness of water, unless that fish were one day destined to be a land animal. This comparison is a bit unfortunate in that it has led people to argue that Lewis was a proponent of biological evolution, but I think that totally misses the point he was making. He wasn’t talking about the fish at all, he was talking about the Human and our relationship to Time. So, with that in mind, I wrote the poem Momentary after the end of a three year relationship that ended with betrayal and secrets and finally an abrupt end without closure or communication. I was feeling very much like all the time and energy spent in the relationship was a total waste (of course if you learn something from time spent, then it’s not a waste). It was this mood and reflection that I was in when I penned the poem. Here is Momentary from my book The Golden Road: Poems, Prayers, and Petitions on the Narrow Road to Freedom:

 

Momentary

Is time truly as precious
As the emptiness felt when wasted
Could this be what God senses
When He observes my life spent
Or is time really relevant
Invested in one moment’s breath
Arrested ‘til we hold it up
As sacred and unfold its wealth
The essence of a soul’s length
And breadth and width and height
When set against a world’s end
Or an endless fall of night

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