… on wrestling time (or tilting at windmills)
December 30, 2016
So this whole calendar thing.
Yes… the calendar thing.
I mean, I get the whole ‘day, solar year, and lunar cycle’ thing. And the whole Gregorian-kicks-out-the-Roman calendar thing, which – due to its reliance on the leap year algorithm rather than the observation of the new moon – disassociated the calendar month from lunation… which, of course, took effect in or around 1582.
I get all that.
But there’s a thing.
Always is, isn’t there… some pesky thing.
We humans are control freaks (oh yes, even you, you know you are). And the calendar seems to be a human-derived rule book for time… a laugh-out-loud, bang-our-heads-against-the-wall, futile attempt to cram it into nice, little, controlled boxes we can check off on the way to, well, anything really.
Dude, Time is a way bigger deal than that.
He is also, quite literally, out of control.
On the one hand, he exhibits absolutely steadfast dependability – a good trait, right?
Buuuuut on the other hand, there’s Time’s hyper-focus on perfection – forever coming and showing up and passing by… the guy never even stops for a snack.
And he won’t either.
No matter what’s happening, no matter how much we need Time to slow down, stop, give us a sec… even if we beg and plead… time is not deviating from his schedule.
He can be a real dick like that.
No control over time.
But… lately I’ve been noodling a bit about Time. Wondering if maybe I’ve given him a bad rap. And I think I have. I mean, the dude gives and gives and gives. Maybe he just has trouble, as so many of us do, saying the word ‘no’ to other universal constituents who decide to ride along – uninvited – with him as he makes his rounds.
The stowaways on Time’s always-on-schedule, ever-moving train.
Death, illness, tough decisions, winning, losing, stuff we agree with, stuff we don’t… love, hate, confusion, disaster, surprise, celebration, devastation, transcendence…
It’s not Time’s fault, the bad stuff that comes. Nor ought he receive full credit for the good stuff, I suppose. I mean, Time has no more control over which of the universe’s stowaways hop on his train than a shark gets to choose exactly which of those funny little sucker fish (also called ‘remoras’) decide to attach to it.
And it’s not only that.
If he wants to keep his schedule, Time can’t concern himself with them… can’t stop and wait for any single one of us to deal with whatever hitchhiker decides to tuck and roll into our lives as the train passes by.
That’s just not part of Time’s job.
We tango with the unexpected guests (a far more politically correct term than hitchhiker I think), and the welcome guests. We wrestle with the disappointing ones, and rail against the ones who arrive with even more hangers-on, some terrible or horrible.
And we get to waltz and spin and celebrate with the miraculous ones, the ones that bring light. The ones that lay goosebumps on our souls and make our hearts want to step forward and sing.
We have all the time we have, exactly that much. No more. Time owes us nothing, and he knows it.
And yet, if we choose to do the work with the time we are given, through the best and worst his hitchhikers bring with them, we realize some of life’s – and time’s – greatest gifts.
And, one of my faves…
Acceptance (the salve for life’s wounds and scars, and the witnessing of their causes through softer eyes).
So, sure, calendars are important – but more in the ‘common language, common understanding’ way of important. A way to log things and stuff. But the reality is that Time dissolves into fits of belly-laughter every time someone even mentions ‘calendar’.
Time is coming, and going, on his own schedule – ever-moving, totally dependable. Humanity’s attempts to impose order and organization be damned.
A new year isn’t about resetting Time. There’s no sense wrestling with him, or expecting him to change which experiences he carries along on his cosmic road trip through our lives.
The new year is about, if we want it to be, resetting us.
Our brains, our perspectives. How we exist, and be with what time we have, with what Time brings.
We ought to be careful with it, Time also being one of life’s most precious forms of currency.
How we spend it, who we spend it with, what we use it for… pretty important stuff.
2016 was a calendar year, a human definition for a chunk of eternity.
And, like all Time has ever bestowed on us, bad things happened… good things happened.
Horrible things happened… miracles happened.
For some it was more bad than good.
For some, more good than bad.
For some, perhaps, the worst year ever.
For others, per chance, the best.
And now our brand new calendar year is upon us (ignore Time laughing himself silly in the background – omnipotence can lead not only to self-righteousness but also contributes to a wicked sardonic wit).
Some of the coming year will be good, some not so much. And some? Well, I can almost guarantee that some of our time – perhaps when we least expect it – will be accompanied by wonders – big and small. Astonishments we cannot possibly foresee.
Life is like that.
Even this life.
Even this past year.
And, yep, even the one to come.
Thanks for readin’.
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