Time Present and Time Past

I remember hearing about a church clock that, at midday, struck thirteen.  Workers in the fields did not possess timepieces, but they could hear the church clock.  The first strike was to get their attention.  Most of the time the movement of the sun gave them their daily rhythm.

When a worker retired from years of working in the mill or the  factory, as a reward for loyal service the owners often presented them with a watch.  They were given back their time. 

Young people don’t bother with watches.   In fact I have a nephew who has a first class degree in computing, but he can’t “tell the time” from a clock face.  Like everything else, time is on their phone and it’s a series of passing numbers.

As we hurry through our lives, we talk of “spending time”, of “running out of time” and “getting behind”.   Later in life we might reflect on how, if we “had our time again”, we might do things differently.   But “time passes” and that is not possible.   We only have the present and the challenge of being with “what is” now.

Jesus asks us to “Consider the lilies of the field…” and Ralph Waldo Emerson suggests something similar in his poem Perfect:

These roses under my window

make no reference to former roses or to better ones,

they are for what they are; they exist today.

There is no time to them.

There is simply the rose; it is perfect

in every moment of its existence.

Chris Dawson

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