Friday, May 15, 2015

Time, Meaning, and Moments

“Time and tide wait for no man.” – Geoffrey Chaucer

                                 “You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Time, the devourer of all things.” – Ovid

Time, Meaning, and Moments

I’ve been thinking about time lately. How it shapes us, how it imparts meaning. We’ve all heard and experienced how time seems to go more quickly when we’re enjoying ourselves and how it seems to drag on when we’re not. I recently watched the Harry Potter films for the first time, and one of the magical items caught my attention. One of the professors at Hogwarts has an hourglass that slows down when conversation is stimulating and speeds up when it’s not. In effect, then, it allows more time for something enjoyable.

I find myself wishing that was real. Wishing that good times didn’t have to end and that unpleasant times would just be a wisp, a momentary blip on the radar. Wishing that I could control time.

Yet where would that leave me, truly? Would the result be what I wanted? Or would I lose an important aspect of meaning?

In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon lays out a fascinating discussion about time, which begins with this in verse 1: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Seasons. Moments. Time. It’s not meant to be stopped; it’s designed to march on. That doesn’t always make it easy, though. Seasons are a part of life. That’s easily recognized when we look at the natural world and its progression through Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, and back to Winter. Yet the transitions can be difficult. I often get sick during season changes.  My body struggles to adapt when we go through Daylight Savings Time or the leaves begin to drop.

The same is true with other seasons in our lives. Change is hard. It can be painful to move away from something wonderful. That’s where I find myself now, at the end of an amazing, life-changing season.

I don’t want it to be gone.

Yet I can’t stop it, anymore than I can make summer stay a month longer or keep people from moving away. As much as I want to, I can’t keep these changes at bay. They’re seasons. And seasons end.

Perhaps they’re more meaningful because they end. Because we know that someday our moments will come to a stop, we can treasure them. Imagine if time didn’t matter. Imagine a world where things never ended. After a while, whatever we were doing wouldn’t matter anymore, would it? And if nothing ever ended, how could anything else begin? Endings and beginnings go hand-in-hand. When one thing ends, something else always begins. It may not seem as good right away. It may not be what you wanted. It’s life, though. When you think about it, it’s beautiful, because, just as wonderful things end, challenging things end too. And each season has something to teach us.

My summer is a new season, entirely different from the one that’s ending now. Am I sad? Definitely. I’m leaving a known situation, one that I’m comfortable in, and beginning something new. Yet I know that God’s the one changing my seasons, and, regardless of what this one holds, I know it’s for my good.

Here on Earth, our lives are measured in moments. Each moment means something because it ends. I want to treasure them. I want to use them as God designs them to be used. I want to live a life of meaning.

How do you impart meaning into your moments? Are you at the end of a season in your life? Let me know in the comments; I love to chat!

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