Friday, April 08, 2005

Time

Time seems to be a theme popping up in so much of my life right now.

Finally, after years of putting it off, I'm reading Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time," which is giving me even more reason to consider L'Engle my now official favorite author. Other dimensions such as space and time are dealt with in incredibly adventurous ways and remind me how time is so constraining and limiting for humans.

Last night, a group of Fuller students and I talked briefly about universal salvation and tossed around ideas of God bringing all creation back to himself eventually--in His time perhaps.

Today at work, a co-worker and I discussed the Catholic and Protestant traditions, and wondered together how much we owe to our faith tradition' ancestors, and how time--while people change through it--really seems to repeat the same thing and produce the same kind of problems again and again (which makes me think of Ecclesiastes, as I'm reminded there is a time for everything and that there is nothing new under the sun).

Tonight, my sister Blakeley called me to tell me she had talked to an old friend we grew up with back in South Carolina and then sent me some recent pictures of the guy...and I couldn't believe it. I've never experienced time really standing still, although I can imagine what it must feel like because after I saw that picture something clicked: it was the icing on the cake of coincidences, and I suddenly realized how fast time was moving and how all of us are affected by it.

The movie "Irreversible," which is arguably one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen, begins with a quote from some famous philosopher that reads, "time destroys all things." When I first read that after seeing the movie with my friend Tara, we debated later if we agreed with the statement. Essentially, I had trouble with the quote while Tara (the older and wiser of the two of us) saw much truth in it. I didn't like how it seemed to give "time" such power but Tara rightfully recognized the quote for what it was really saying to us all: that even though we try as hard as we can to go against it, and to un-destroy the effects of time, all our efforst are really pure folly and useless and ridiculous.

One of the reasons I admire the writer Madeleine L'Engle so much is that she seems to have one of the best perspectives on time I've yet to come across. She doesn't try to fight time, she just accepts it and let's time do its work while she does her's. It seems so simple of a thing but yet, laying in my bed tonight, thinking of all the events of the past day or so, I couldn't help but realize how bad I am at accepting time's work in my life. How rigid and resisting I am toward time and how more incomplete this makes me at the end of the day. And so I lay there tonight, with my hands folded over my chest and my eyes staring up at the light and fan whooshing around the dust in my room, and I was still---very still---for what felt like eternity. I did nothing but it felt like something terrifying because I was constantly thinking of that friend from South Carolina. I hardly blinked and just kept lying there---in one of those moments where you're totally aware and honestly physically petrafied, and so, your body seems like it's almost afraid to movie. I kept thinking about aging old and being 80 someday and sitting in the same position with the same feelings. And I thought, "it's never going to slow down, is it?---it's only going to go by faster and faster." And this made me (for the first real time perhaps) really fear the thought of growing old.

Now I think I may know what so many other people in the world are always complaining about.

2 comments:

Chalupa said...

That's awesome that you're reading A Wrinkle in Time. I think I first read it in 6th grade. Sweet book. I'm pretty sure there's some follow up book(s) to that too.

Yeah, the whole getting old thing is kinda weird. I have friends that I haven't seen in years, yet I still have a picture of them in my head from when we were 8 or 12 or 17. It's weird like that. I've also definately noticed how fast time seems to go past. When you were 4 years old 6 months was an eternity cause that was 1/8 of your life. Now that I'm almost 24, 1/8 of my life is 3 years. So it makes sense proportionally, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

Stephen Becker said...

nevs...today in the mail my l'engle "genesis trilogy" came in the mail. i'm pretty excited to start reading it. here we go!