The View from My Section – A restless epiphany: The case for time



One night when I was having trouble sleeping, I did what experts recommend, I got up and went into my den and laid down on my couch, keeping the lights off, and tried resting in a different location. The room change did seem to help. As I laid there the only sound I heard came from the Grandfather clock on the wall. The rhythmic ticking sound as the pendulum swung softly back and forth.

Lying there listening to the gentle ticking of the Grandfather clock, I began to relax, almost as if a hypnotist was using the sound to lull me into an altered state of consciousness. As I shifted my position to get more comfortable I crossed my arms over my chest. Upon doing so my hand could feel my heartbeat that appeared to be almost in rhythm with the clock’s pendulum. Just then, I had a moment of what I’d like to think was a profound insight into how the ticking of the clock closely resembled the heartbeat of life itself. Whereby, no matter what is going on in life, the clock keeps on ticking. And just as the second-hand makes its way around the face, constantly moving, so is life. With each second the moment changes; it could be a subtle change or a bigger change. As each second passes, one moment in life becomes another.

As I laid there quietly reflecting, I began to see time in all its complicated forms. Such as the dichotomy of how time passes quickly when you’re enjoying a party with your friends, versus how it seems to pass slowly when you’re listening to a boring lecture. The movement is always the same rate even though we feel its pace seems to fluctuate faster or slower depending on our situation. It doesn’t fluctuate though, time proceeds forward always constant, neither fast or slow. This is especially important to realize when we’re experiencing difficult and troubling events in our lives. When the moment seems to last forever, or the clock seems to stop altogether… it doesn’t. It keeps moving, and whether we are conscious of it or not, with each second that passes that moment we’re in, in good times and bad, it passes too.

We’d like for time to slow down when life is good and speed up when moments are difficult, but it doesn’t do either of course. Because it knows no difference, it treats both variables equally. Such is life. Life hands us good times, bad times, and moments in between. It doesn’t purposely make those good times shorter or the bad times longer, life doesn’t see it that way. Because regardless of which moment it is, it’s treated the same in relation to duration, one second at a time. It moves along at a consistent pace with no regard as to what’s going on in our individual lives.

Occasionally, time can be helpful to us in that the more it passes the easier it becomes for us to deal with things we’d rather forget. Other times, it’s cruel because equally as it passes it reminds us of the way life used to be. But it’s not purposely trying to help or hurt us; it simply is what it is, just as life is what it is, sometimes helpful, sometimes not. And maybe the reason it sees no difference between the seconds of happiness and the seconds of despair it gives us is that life only sees things in the whole entirety. It understands how one moment relates equally to another, how the bad times help create good times and vice-versa. It understands the importance of each second but realizes it’s the whole that matters most. Even though the whole must be lived one second at a time.

I hope that no matter what aspect of time you’re currently in, good or bad, you realize it does pass eventually. And that you appreciate the good times in the moment, and you understand the bad times are only temporary in the grand scheme of life. And, hopefully, you find comfort in knowing both.

Maybe, perhaps next time I have trouble sleeping I’ll just try a sedative instead.

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