Time Enough

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Time fascinates me. I like to think about the physics of time, à la, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, which contains pretty much all the science I can handle because my math skills are elementary, at best.

I love novels that employ time, like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 debut (which reminds me to go to GoodReads and check out her other work). If you only saw the movie, you cheated yourself. Read the book.

A funny, poignant movie about time is the aptly titled, About Time, a 2013 film starring Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, and Domhnal Gleeson. Check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Time is a poignant reality, Its fickle, fleeting essence is lost on the very young but becomes oh-so-real later in life. We sense the wrongness of our personal time running out. Of our bodies – our only way to interact with the world – running down. No doubt about it, our software is designed to last, no matter how the hardware is faring.

At the risk of coming off as didactic, here are a few of my thoughts on the matter of time:

We are beautiful in our time. There’s only ever been, and ever will be, one you and one me. Believing this encourages and comforts me.

No matter how different I feel from the next person, we’re in the same basic situation: Eternal on the inside, expiration date-stamped on the outside. Remembering this helps me in the empathy department, which is always good.

On my pass through this life, it’s okay to trust my instincts. To sail into uncharted waters. It’s never too late to change course, and it’s never too late to point the bow toward a new horizon. Knowing this helps me be brave.

Finally, my very favorite unit of time is a day because it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I’ve spent a shocking number of days already, and I’ve wasted more than a few on worry and misery. I’m more careful about that now. I try not to waste even one.

A nineteenth century author and clergyman named Henry Van Dyke wrote a brief poem called “Time Is.” If you’re as long in the tooth as I am, you might recognize the verse from a song by the same name on the 1969 album It’s a Beautiful Day.

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

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