The Illusion of Time


This beautiful clock was given to me, by a friend, almost 14 years ago.  At the time it was a symbolic offer of the time we had spent together and the unexpected life events, that as friends, we would need to laugh and cry through.  As far as clocks go, this one has never lived up to its intended design.  It has been through many batteries and yet it goes months, even years without working.  It, however, has never left my living room; it sits proudly on the television stand.

I have been asked why I keep it, if it is so unreliable.  As I downsize my life, again, some difficult choices have to be made, including parting with the dishes my grandmother gave me 25 years ago.  They are lovely but have only been used a dozen times. Their tiny silver trim sparks in the microwave and they are fragile in a non fragile home.  The broken clock, however, will come with me. It has become a meaningful material gift.

For almost 14 years it has randomly ticked, sometimes it lasts for a day, other times it lasts for weeks, but never does it tell the right time!  I don’t run to it, as it starts to tick, to make current it’s time. I just sit and marvel at how something, that was designed to do one thing, has completely taken on a new role.

Why the clock must stay.

Recently it began to tick again, it has been ticking for almost a week– one of its longer stints! As I notice it tick:

  1. I think of my friend, and I wonder if time is serving her well. We have lost touch over the years and moved on with our new lives. But from time to time I see a Facebook post and I am happy for her.
  2. I remember another special friend, who I lost too early and for a moment, I feel sad. Then I laugh as I remember the crazy names he thought of, as he was deciding what to name his unborn baby boy, that sadly he would never meet.
  3. I think about all the things I have learned from loving and losing people and it hits me that ‘my time clock’ could stop any minute, and not restart.

Time is the cornerstone of a civilized world, one of the most rigid of human creations.  Without it, how would we know we have succeeded?  How would we know we have failed? Time is the benchmark by which we judge our status in life.   The passage of it has given me wisdom, and has taken, a little piece of my innocence. We always wish for more of it, and while we do, we are not taking full advantage of the moment we are presently in.

We need time for our business, our religious celebrations, our pay day schedules and all those other important things. It tells us when we are getting old, and reflecting on it, is what makes us human.

My random ticking clock helps me reflect on time and its illusion. It is not time I need, it is now.  As Eckhart Tolle so wisely says “The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

As Derrick and I spend our now, doing silly things, I know they will impact my future but as my wise cousin says “Let future Lisa worry about that!”

Namaste, Lisa


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