December 18, 2015

Timeliness



For the most part we are, in this western world,
well practiced at the art of "telling time." We observe time on a clock, days on a calendar; we make appointments with others and we expect others to respect our "time."
It seems we are a culture who prefers the completed to the process of completion, control over products not the process, and that affects each of us in various ways. We make to-do lists; we say our day was "productive". While there are those writers, poets and artists who come along to remind us about the timelessness of the world, they are the minority.

We buy gadgets to "save" time and electronic devices to communicate "better or faster." Ironically today, more and more, those very same gadgets for some people do indeed speed their time along. They are now responsible for the deaths of more and more persons. What time did we think we were to "save"? How sophisticated is that-- death by texting? Heart attacks, panic attacks from stress?

In contrast our ancient wisdom is not clock driven at all. The author(s) of the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that "God has placed timelessness in our hearts."  There is time for planting, for reaping; time for joy, for mourning; time for laughter and for weeping, the author reminds us. Interestingly, the pairs of experiences given are lists not easily "scheduled" or controlled; their duration may be unknown.
For how long do we love or mourn? When is our joy and laughter to stop? By experience we learn that these things have their own process, their own time.
There is no appointment calendar to contain such experiences. And yet these are the very things that bind us together as a human family. They are immediately recognizable the world over. Living them teaches us compassion, what it is to be human. From birth to death we learn what is most precious to us; in silence, we learn to listen.
Let us now attend to the timelessness of our hearts.


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