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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Timepieces Don't Tell

Is there anything more arbitrary than time? It dictates our lives regardless of our attention to it. And it comes encased in timepieces of countless sizes, shapes and mechanisms. I got to thinking of that this morning and remembering how my first desire for a thing other than food, affection, etc. was for a wrist watch. I’m told that before I could pronounce it properly (I called it a “rich ratch”) I begged for one. I remember pouring through each new issue of the huge Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck catalogues to choose my favorite wrist watch. Not until I was twelve did I get one. It was exactly the one I’d chosen from the catalogue, with a silver mesh band. You’d think an object so desired and so thrilling to receive as that would have survived the ravages of the thing called time that it was made to record but I have no idea whatever happened to it.

Nowadays I wear a wrist watch that serves its purpose but is of little value monetarily and even cosmetically. I simply don’t care as long as it does its job. I have a National Geographic radio operated atomic clock, a Colonial grandfather clock set to chime the Westminster tune every quarter hour, and a whimsical metal clock shaped like a bicycle with the clock serving as the front wheel. There’s a digital clock in my bedroom that gives me the time in big red digits all hours of the day and night. And, of course, the time is displayed on my kitchen stove, the television set, on my cell phone and computer.

Now where is this blog going? you might ask. I’m beginning to see. It has to do with getting older. Can anyone tell me why time should affect one’s health and well-being as time does? Timepieces don’t tell. Nothing can be quite so impersonal than the time of day on the face of a clock. Yet all our lives we live by it. More or less. 

Can there be, is there, a higher dimension where time disappears? I think in a way that we’re living in it right now when we consider that there’s no other certainty than an ever present now. We cannot hang onto a second or hasten another second. We can use this minute in some constructive way or we can let it slip by unimproved and wasted. Sixty consecutive “nows” in an hour go by and what have we to show for them? That’s the challenge of being alive. What we think and what we do in this ever-present Now are the two most influential elements of our personal lives. 

A timepiece is useful, often beautiful, and a tool in learning to become punctual. The sturdy round wall clock next to the portrait of George Washington in my first grade classroom used to tick loudly during arithmetic time tests. It also had something to do with the alarm that announced the end of a period in class. I’m glad to be done with school other than the one we can’t escape called Experience. I’ll never in this life be done entirely with timepieces, I hope, for if I escape them entirely it will mean I’ve given up control of my own will. However, if I’ve given up my will for the sense of God’s will being done? That must be the best timepiece yet. 

Do you suppose God is bound to timepieces? I doubt it. Does eternity depend on measurement of time or is it an endless Now that has no beginning? When you’re in your advancing years you get to sit and ponder things like that. If you’re independent, that is. To stay independent to some extent is good. To keep up mentally is even better. I look at the faces of my clocks and smile. They serve me, but I don’t serve them, except to wind the grandfather and keep fresh batteries in the others. 

Some people take great pride in their wristwatches and spend thousands of dollars for the names that they bear. A little Timex is good enough for me but I’m not giving away old grandy or the handsome atomic National Geographic yet. The bicycle clock makes me smile. Its symbolism keeps rolling on with the times. And now I must get dressed for the day and see what I can make of it. I’ll not be watching the clock much today because my calendar has not a single notation on it. Now that’s my favorite kind of day! 

Dear Readers, Let's all have a great and good day, a beautiful Now!  


  1. I guess time is like that Manna from heaven. It's the one thing that none of us can stockpile. :)

    BTW, many of us don't wear watches anymore. We all check our cell phones. :)

  2. Were you the little girl who begged for a watch so much that her beleaguered father forbade her to speak the word one more time that day. But then it was time for dinner, and the father asked his daughter if she would ask the blessing. She said, "Yes, father. Forgive me, but I would like to quote our Lord, Jesus from the Bible, Mark 13, verse 37: 'And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.'" :-)