Holding Time

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- Adam Lorenz 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He separated light from dark. God called the light “day” and the dark he called “night.” And this was the first day.

Things remained this way for just a few millennia. 

Time was measured by the sun, the moon, the stars until the creation of the clock but even then it remained regional. The universalism of time remained that it simply divided the days. In 1840 it happened, standard time, with the railways in Great Britain first establishing this to keep on schedule.

And the world has not been the same ever since. 

Though it is interesting to note, we have also discovered that time is still flexible, even relative. Called time dilation, which is experienced in astronauts as time in many ways slows down, making them age less than those on earth during their time in space due to gravity and velocity in space. 

But never mind that, why all this talk on time? 

Recently I was waiting for friends to arrive at the theatre for a midnight showing of one of this summer’s blockbuster films. I got a text from one saying they were running behind, another that they might be late. What started as just a little anxiety about getting bad seats and missing the previews quickly moved to frustration at my friends for not being prompt or planning ahead to arrive on time. 

But why was I getting this upset with my friends? 

By no means were they being malicious, actually they had the courtesy to let me know in advance. Then it dawned on me. 

When it matters to me, I want it matter to others.

I’m only on time when it is for things I find important to me. Otherwise, I have no problem being late and rarely do I think of how frustrated this might make those I’m meeting. My near breakdown (a slight overstatement) at the theater pointed out a major area for growth in how I hold my time.

We all have our own internal clocks. These clocks speak to more than when we sleep and wake – they also speak to how we engage. Our cultural upbringing has a huge effect on that, especially contrasting how time is held in the American culture to that of the countless other cultures around the world. In the West we view time as a commodity, whereas in other parts of the world this is a ridiculous thought. When we speak of time, it has less to do with minutes and seconds and more so how we engage each moment AND the moments leading up to and concluding.

How do you hold your time?

In many ways, the American culture has us embody time in a number of ways: 

  • Time Slaves -we can easily be a type A personality, living very rigidly through each day of our lives.
  • Time Demanders - we can be one who demands that what we value comes first. 
  • Time Flakers - we could easily be classified as lazy – we pay no attention to time constraints.
  • Go With The Flow-ers - we can avoid any sort of structure even at the sake of those around us (and their schedules). 

And there are countless other categories we could use to explain how individuals engage time. There are positives and negatives to each, qualities in each to embrace and others where growth is necessary.  

So often, we are reminded that God operates outside of our constructs, our frameworks and our desires. He created days for us but in many ways, time – the keeping track of minutes, seconds and hours - is a human construct.  The creation narrative ends with not only a day of rest but also we see humanity simply fully in the presence of one another and of God.  

We live now in a world attempting to reclaim many things.  Can we really be fully available to the present moment? Can we trust that even in the chaos, there is some thing to engage? Can we let go of the need to have the world work on our time and desires? 

Can you? 

Can I?

 

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Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at www.adamlorenz.net. Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.