Are Time and Justice good friends or sworn enemies?

No time for justice! Some people do not believe that there is any justice in the world. Others believe that justice will always occur but it just takes time. I remember part of a quote that mentions justice grinding like a mill wheel, slowly but inevitably. Many believe that justice will not be found in this world but only in some after life when all accounts are called to order. The Old Testament notes that “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” Perhaps, we will not find justice on earth but somewhere between heaven and hell, we will all be judged and sentenced. I have always wondered where Hitler and other mass murderers would end up and what criteria could be used to judge them.

In the USA, the Bill of Rights (Amendment VI) calls for a speedy and impartial public trial for all convicted of a crime. Justice is rendered today and you do not have to wait to have justice meted out. Justice is quick, fair and impartial. Or at least, it is supposed to be. Today the wheels of justice seem to grind much more slowly than envisioned by our American forefathers. Few of us would say that most trials are speedy, never mind impartial. Perhaps if the definition of a “speedy” trial had been defined we might be better able to judge the efficacy of the present US court system. What is speedy to some of us might be slow to others. No doubt we all want justice today for ourselves. Why then does it appear that few citizens are clamoring for trials to be made speedier? Is the right to a speedy trial no longer important? Are we more willing to tolerate delays in all aspects of our lives? Have we extended this to the court system so that we no longer feel that a speedy trial is important?

Maybe we should just rewrite the Bill of Rights to make the amendment more accurate. Perhaps it should read: “You are entitled to a trial, which with lawyers and court delays might take several years before it comes to court. If you can afford a better lawyer, you will have a better chance of winning your case.” What would you think of this change? Do you think trials should be speedy? Do you think it is important to have a speedy, fair and impartial justice system? Do you think most are? How would you feel if you were in the court system? Would you be a satisfied customer?

So are you proud that you are a multi-tasker?

I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why (Alabama)

How true this song rings for so many of us. We are all in a hurry and we don’t know why. Where are we going? Why must we be in a hurry to get “nowhere” so fast? How frustrating life can seem when everyone wants everything fast. We have fast food restaurants, fast bank drive-ins, ATM’s, fast lanes, one hour prescriptions glasses, express lanes in the grocery stores, fast check-ins and fast checkouts at hotels and fast registrations for just about everything you can name. Amazon has instituted one-click shopping which has raised the bar even higher for fast service transactions.

As we speed life up more and more, we become less and less patient with waiting or spending even a second of “wasted” time. We take our frustrations out in road rage or an excess of pills to pacify our anxiety and tensions. We increasingly see the negative effects of rushing and multi-tasking. We have no time to spend thinking about whether or not we are rushing since we are so busy rushing we have no time to think. The cycle gets more vicious each day. We have completely relegated that old admonition “haste makes waste” to the dustbins of history.

When do you have time to stop or to do nothing or even to “waste” a minute? As you go through your activities today, see if you can be a little more patient. See if you can slow down a teeny bit. Use those opportunities when you are frustrated or feeling rushed to notice the flow in your life. Each moment of haste or impatience is an opportunity to slow the rush down. How many chances can you take today to slow the rush down? How many will you succeed at? Give your heart a break today! Give others a break! One of these breaks may just save your life.

Do you spend your time wisely and well?

Spending time! What an interesting concept. We say: “I would really like to spend some time with you or I would really like to be able to spend some time on that.” What does it mean to spend time? Is time like money? If time is like money, then do I only have so much to spend? What if I am rich, do I have more time to spend than a poor person. Can you be rich in time and poor in money? Well, regardless of how much money you or I have, each day we wake up with 24 hours of time in a day. Whether you are rich or poor, the length of the day is the same for each of us.

In the short term, money is always limited, but taking a long term view it can always grow or diminish. Time does not grow though. Our time runs down as each second, each minute, each hour, each day, each week, each month and each year brings us one step closer to finality. All the money in the world will not stop this inevitability. We all have a date with death at some point in our lives. Sooner for some and later for others, but it is inevitable for all. Unlike money in a bank though, each day brings me 24 fresh new hours to live. However, while I have 24 new hours to live each day, I will never see the same moments again in my life that I spent yesterday.

Thus, it is prudent to ask if you are spending your time wisely or foolishly. How did you spend your time yesterday? Was it a worthwhile purchase from your time bank or was it something very mediocre? Did you get your time’s worth? How will you spend your time today? Are you thrifty or profligate with time? Will you spend your time today buying what you need to live a happy and fulfilling life?

What will they say about you when you die?

Famous eulogies! Some eulogies are so memorable that they are forever etched into our minds and into history. Others will quickly be forgotten. Yes, we did talk about eulogies before. In fact, I asked you to write your own eulogy. Have you done it yet? Will your eulogy become famous? Go to Google and type in “eulogy” and you will find dozens of sites with links to famous eulogies.

Perhaps the most famous “funeral” oration of all time was not given at a funeral. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” was about what Dr. King wanted said at his funeral. He had a premonition of his own death and drafted this speech as a sort of pre-eulogy that he delivered himself. It is surely one of the most moving and memorable speeches of all time. Another famous eulogy, perhaps never given but immortalized by Shakespeare was the speech by Marc Antony after the murder of Julius Caesar. I can still hear ringing in my ears the words: “I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him.” Of course, this was a very ironic eulogy since Antony did not mean what he said and he turned the oration into a propaganda forum to inspire a revolt against Caesar’s murderers.

Most of us have probably never thought about our eulogies becoming famous, but who knows what can happen after we die. The point of creating your eulogy is not about becoming famous, it is about reflecting on the life you want to live. Someone said that dreams become goals when you put a date on them. Well, hopes and wishes can become real to but only when you put them out as intentions and desires. If you want to be the person in your dreams you will have to form the intention to be that person. When someone else is giving your eulogy it will be too late.

If you still have not written your eulogy or even if you have written it, go back and look it over again. Think about these questions again: What do I really want said about me when I die? What do I want people to remember me for? What would I say about myself if I gave my own eulogy speech today? What is memorable about my life that I would like history to remember me for? Now make a schedule to write your eulogy. When you have written it, the question to ask is “Can I live up to this?” If not, how do you need to change your life and when will you start to make these changes?

What is the link between time and hatred?

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” – G. Santayana. I first came across this quote on a tablet engraved at Dachau, a German concentration camp during WW II. The camp is now a war memorial for the millions of Jewish people and others murdered by the Nazis. Today, more than 50 years later and we still are fighting over the truth of the Holocaust. There are still those who say the Holocaust never happened. Worse, there are those who sport Nazi arm bands and wear Hitler tattoos. Many of us have no wish to forget the past but we want to remember it accurately. It is not heritage when there is hate involved. It should not be remembered with nostalgia by the perpetrators when others suffered, died and were ignominiously buried. Imagine if someone suddenly said that crucifixions were an important part of their heritage and they did not want to forget them!

What a desecration to the past efforts of millions of Americans and others who gave their lives to wipe this disease of fascism and hate off of the face of the earth! To parade around in jack boots and Heil Hitler salutes is an insult to humanity. How in heaven’s name has it blossomed again and why? Are we so ignorant of the past that we do not think it can happen again? Do we not read the paper and notice the increased violence against minorities and immigrants. Why is this true? Why are we forgetting the past and allowing this rotten blight to spread? Are we willing to trade our freedom for security?

What about the past do you need to remember? What have you chosen to forget? Are you confusing heritage with hate? Do you romanticize the past and forget the evil that was often done to others?

What does summer mean to you?

Well, I suppose I should have been blogging about summer two days ago. I could make the excuse better late than never, but in truth, the last few days have not felt much like the “summer breezes” you associate with summer. Perhaps, spring showers are just getting their due. Nevertheless, it is officially summer so some reflections about summer are due. I am sure it will be here any day now.

“Summertime, when the living is easy.” That line from the musical “Porgy and Bess” by G. Gershwin seems to always resonate in my mind when the warm breezes start blowing the cold weather away in Minnesota. We all love summer. For many of us, it is a time of vacations and connotations of freedom from school and work. However, why does the song say the living is easy? I think it is because summer seems to bring that association to mind despite the fact that it is not now nor probably ever was easy. Nevertheless, we think of the lushness of fresh fruit, vegetables, the farmers market and long days and nights. It does not matter that we may work all summer, the dream is still there of “easy living.”

As we get older, most of us will think back to our childhoods with fond summer memories of doing nothing but kicking rocks, jumping rope, fishing, swimming off of the old bridge, camping with our friends or weekends at the cabin with our family. Perhaps these are more traditional Minnesota memories but no matter where you live, you will have your own memories associated with summer time. All over the world, people are in vacation mode during the summertime. Maybe you will spend your summer traveling to exotic destinations or simply taking a short trip to visit relatives. Summer brings a longing for what we want life to have in store for us as we age. Summer is a time of psychological retirement years before any of us will ever retire.

What are your best summer memories? What did you once do each summer that is now simply a memory? What summer traditions do you still celebrate? What do you hope your future summers will have in store for you? Are you living your dreams now or waiting?

What if it does take long?

This won’t take long! How often has someone said that to you or you have said that to someone else? A few years ago, I bought my first gas grill. I had never owned one and Karen and I decided it was time. To save a few bucks, I ordered it through the Internet. When it came, it was in one huge box which I had a hard time moving into the garage by myself. I vaguely remember something about it only taking fifteen minutes to put together. Well, it took me 30 minutes just to lay all of the parts out. Three hours and forty five minutes later, I had finished putting my grill together. Except for putting the batteries in backwards, I was able to fire the thing right up and do my first outside grilling at the age of 60. I was thrilled except when I thought how long it took me to put it together. I was even angrier the next day when after going to Home Depot, I found the same grill assembled. I could have purchased it there pre-assembled; with delivery and it would have only cost me 25 dollars more. Thus, my savings did not even come close to paying for my time, not to mention my aggravation.

We often underestimate the length of time it will take to do things. Sometimes we are misled by advertisements but often by our own misconceptions. The thought “this won’t take long” should be a red flag for most of us. On reflection, the phrase is seldom true. They say anything worthwhile takes time. We can do the worthless fast, but those things that are really meaningful and valuable will take more time.

What things and events do you most often underestimate? What jobs or tasks do you rush through? What work do you have to do today that you should allow more time for? What areas in your life should you spend more time on? It is a lot easier to be less frustrated and to do a better job when you can allow the right amount of time needed for the job and not worry about it “taking too long.”

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