Day 320 of the Calendar Year: Crazy Time.

For the next 45 days until the New Year of 2016, I am going to post some blogs on the subject of Time and its implications for our lives.  I will post one a day for each day of the remaining 2015 year.

craziness_is_like_heaven_by_nicolelynnroberts-d56r5zxCrazy time today often has a very negative connotation. We think of the crazies in our world and the damage they often do. We try to figure out what made them crazy or what ticked off their crazy streak. We wonder “How could anyone do something so bizarre? What made them do such things?” However, being somewhat crazy and having some crazy time can have other connotations. For instance, many of us are straitlaced and very uptight. We are constantly trained to think about our duties, responsibilities and obligations to others and ourselves. There comes a time when we all need to let go of these “duties” and to be somewhat “crazy.”

Here are four definitions of the word crazy:

1. Mentally deranged; demented; insane.
2. Senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
3. Informal. Intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
4. Informal. Very enamored or infatuated (usually fol. by about): He was crazy
about her. (www.dictionary.com)

No one wants the first definition to apply to them, but the second definition has often been applied to geniuses and entrepreneurs.  The third and fourth definitions can probably be applied to all of us at one time or another.  Who among us is not crazy about something? Thus, craziness is simply a state of being that others do not share at that time. This definition can also be considered the essence of nonconformity. Those who dance to their own drummers seldom share the same state of being that others do. Thus, going a little crazy might be good not only for our spirit but also for our creative side.

Who among us would venture out and do anything really unique or different if we were not willing to flaunt convention and ignore practical reality? In fact, craziness might just be the sine qua non of the adventurous and spirited.

The answer I found is you stay away from the people who make fun of you, and you join these ad hoc groups who understand your craziness. — Ray Bradbury

Time for Questions:

Have you ever been called crazy? Why? Do you ever indulge in activities that others think are crazy? What would your life be like if you were just a little more crazy? What if you danced a little crazier? Acted a little crazier? Dressed a little crazier?

Life is just beginning.

Nothing I read about grief seemed to exactly express the craziness of it; which was the interesting aspect of it to me – how really tenuous our sanity is.  — Joan Didion

December 30th 2014

the-end-of-the-world-2012Are we getting close to the “end of time” or just the end of this year?  Will the universe and everything in it end on December 31st, 2014 this year?  Are you ready if it does?  Have you ever really thought about when time will end? Will time end only when the world and the universe end?  Or maybe time will just quit, like a watch that stops running.  Some religions believe that time ends on judgment day.  Do you think that there are any clocks in Heaven?  What about Hell?  Does the Devil track time for us?  What about in Purgatory?  (Click to hear The End of Time by Beyoncé)  Do you think we will get to hear Beyoncé dance and sing for free in Heaven?

“Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.”  (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm ).

The Catholic Church teaches that we need to spend time in Purgatory only for certain offenses.  If you are really bad, Purgatory is not an option.  It is only for those who screw up but not really in a very bad way.  You screw up really bad, you go to Hell.  Thus Purgatory would be a stopping point for just about everyone in the human race who is not going to Hell.  Since the punishment is temporal and not eternal, do you suppose they have clocks in Purgatory?  Who do you suppose winds them up?  Can you imagine spending 500 years in Purgatory and watching the clock until you are released?

old-clocksPerhaps, time will simply wear out when we get tired of keeping time. People have been thinking about and tracking time since the first human beings walked the earth.  Time seems to be part of the human psyche.  If humans did not have time, they would certainly have created it.  It is hard to imagine any place where we would not mark time.  Heaven qualifies as one place though where there would seem to be no reason to mark time.  Why keep track of time when everything is eternal and unchanging?  Heaven should be a place where there are no goals, no accomplishments, no meetings, no places to get to, no tasks to complete, no projects due, no emails to answer and no shortage of time.  If any of these things existed in heaven, then we would need to track time.

children playingSo what do we do in Heaven?  We all seem to want to get there, but what do we do with our “time” when we are there?  I guess we just play all day since play does not require us to track time.  Play is by definition devoid of timeliness.  You do not have to be on time to play.  Little children would not have invented time.  Children do not seem to worry about time anywhere near as much as adults.  Maybe that is why Jesus said you must be like little children to enter into heaven.   Adults would be bored in heaven in less than a day.  As adults we become more and more fixed on the idea of time and the limitations that time places on our lives. Perhaps if we could just play all day, then time would end and we would all have less stress in our lives.

Maybe we should create a “holiday” each year where time stops.  A day when you do not have to keep track of time or when time does not matter.  It is difficult to think of living a single day when we are not keeping track of time.  I guess we will just have to wait until we get to heaven for time to stop.  Do you suppose anyone wears watches in heaven?

Time for Questions: 

What if we played more and worked less?  Could we cut time down some?  Can you “end time” when it is just play time?  When was the last time, you were able to forget about time?  How long did it last?  What does it take for you to forget about time?

Life is just beginning.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  — Hal Borland

December 29th, 2014

We have 3 kerry roper time waits for no mandays to contemplate the year of 2014 before we begin a New Year.  Perhaps, it might be useful to think of the time we have lost in arguments, grudges, misunderstandings and not wanting to say “I am sorry.”  We go on with feuds and squabbles and time keeps fleeing.  We think that perhaps we can make up for lost time, but making up for lost time can be bittersweet at best and at worst an impossibility.  Time waits for no one.  (Forgiveness song by Matthew West)

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.  fWe have only today. Let us begin.”  ― Mother Teresa

I have a daughter who has not talked to me for many years now.  I think of the time that has gone by and how we could have spent it together doing things we could never have afforded to do when she was younger.  I think of how as adults we could and should have become good friends with talks by the fireplace and walking in the woods.  She is over forty now and I am nearing 70 and the clock keeps ticking and ticking.  I think of the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years that keep moving on by, each moment lost forever to us as this blanket of silence and anonymity shrouds our lives.

“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite”  ― Cassandra Clare

time_waits_for_no_man___tattoo_design_by_mortar_girl-d67o35cTime is lost forever, or can it be made up?  What if she suddenly decided that she wanted to have a relationship with me?  Could we make up the lost time?  If we started today to try to get to know each other; imagine the events that have changed our lives, the places we have been to, the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the funerals and weddings we have been to, the jobs and careers we have changed, the grandchildren we have helped raise.  So much that has changed each of us.  Could be ever bridge the gulf that now separates us?  Would it be possible to be close to each other or even love each other?

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes.  Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”    ― Haruki Murakami

It is difficult to imagine making up lost time, nevertheless, few of us would not try if given the opportunity.  It is an opportunity full of promise but also anguish.   We think we can go back to where we wanted to be years ago but while we are trying to make up the lost time, forgive1we feel anger at the waste of time that could and should have been prevented.  It might be water under the dam, but it will always seem like a useless expenditure of time and energy.  I have known brothers and sisters, parents and siblings and former friends who did not talk to each other for over fifty years.  Unfortunately, some of them died and there went any possibility to make up for lost time.  There are no guarantees in life and if you choose to waste time or lose time, perhaps you will never be able to make it up.  It might be too late when you finally realize your mistake and ask yourself WHY?  You will be left with regrets about what might or could or should have been.

“Any time not spent on love is wasted.”   ― Torquato Tasso

Perhaps you have no control over your lost time.  Time spent in jail, time spent recovering from an accident, and time spent in a relationship that was wrong may all constitute lost time.  Lost time is time away from ForgiveHeart-Jessica_Keylife that could have been lived much differently.  It is time that could have been spent more productively and happily.  Can this time be made up?  Better to not lose it in the first place.  But if you have lost it, then do your best to get on with your life.  Live each day the best you can.  As they say with money, don’t throw good money after bad.  Do not throw good time after bad.  The lost time is over and you have the rest of your life to live.  If you can live each day the best you can, you will be able to put the lost time behind you and perhaps even forget it someday.  Then again, maybe the time that was lost was a lesson and you needed to hear the message it was sending.  A good friend of mine was fond of saying: “There are no mistakes in life only lessons to be learned.”  I think of this comment often.  It is a good lesson to remember.

Time for Questions:

Do you have any lost time to make up?  Are you currently losing time that you should not be losing?  Have you thought about how you can stop losing this time? What can you do today to make it up?  What might you feel regrets about someday if you do not change your life today?

Life is just beginning.

Start now.  Don’t wait.  Tomorrow may never come.

 

 

Grow Old Along with Me

We think of growing old and we think of aged people, old people, retired people, elderly people, nursing home people and dying people.  When we think of growing old, we don’t think of babies, teenagers, young people and college students.  Ironic in a way, since everyone from birth to death is growing old or is at least growing older.  Perhaps that is the difference.  Growing old seems to Imagemean aged.  Growing older is a process while growing old denotes a physical condition.    Old means droopy skin, failing health, difficulty walking and a general decline in one’s ability to be mobile.  To some, old is a state of being or as others would say a state of mind.  Call old what you will, but none can deny the physical deterioration that comes with growing older.

In the Velveteen Rabbit, as the stuffed toy rabbit grows older, he becomes more and more worn and raggedy.  Despite his aging, the rabbit becomes more and more loved by the boy who has become his constant companion through the years.  The love of the boy eventually makes the ImageVelveteen Rabbit “real.”  Regardless of the rabbit’s becoming threadbare, torn and disfigured, the Velveteen Rabbit gains a persona that can only be understood by someone who values longevity, companionship and friendship.

Of course, we all value companionship and longevity; many people in our lives are like the Velveteen Rabbit.  Our sisters and brothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, our mothers and fathers and our good friends and spouses; will all become older and older and older.  Eventually, they all become aged, misshapen, wrinkled and decrepit.  But if they have been good companions through the years, we are blind to their aging process.  We only see the love and caring that they have shown us.  We are blind to their difficulty with hearing and their inability to keep up with us.  We only see the person who was kind and thoughtful to us.  We are blind to their infirmaries and disabilities.  We only see the person who took care of us and helped us in our time of need.

I sometimes look at my spouse Karen who has put on pounds and wrinkles and walks slower than she used to.  Over the years, she has become more and more beautiful.  Looking back, I am not sure Karen was real to me when we were first dating and even married.  It has taken nearly 30 years of togetherness for Imageme to more fully appreciate the person that she is and it is still a process that is evolving.  The commitments that she makes to others often go beyond my understanding.   The kindness and compassion that she shows to those who are in need is more than touching.  The many ways she sacrifices what she wants so that she can help me get what I want have all made Karen real to me.

One of the saddest things, you hear at funerals, is the comment “I wish I had spent more time with them.”   It is probably inevitable that we feel this way.  Having pondered this comment over many wakes and funerals, I wonder if more time would really have made a difference.  I rather think it would be the “quality” of time we spent with others.  You may think that I am simply citing a cliché “quality of time?”  What is this elusive quality of time?  Some examples from my own life with Karen illustrate this concept for me.  Perhaps for you it will be different:

  • Sharing meals together
  • Going to hospital visits together
  • Sharing back rubs and massages
  • Reading together
  • Traveling together
  • Shopping together
  • Spending quiet time together
  • Being concerned with each other’s work
  • Helping each other whenever we can
  • Checking in each day to see how the other is doing
  • Always hugging and greeting each other when going or coming
  • Taking care of each other when sick

My list might seem trivial to you.  Your list might be very different.  Nevertheless, what if we spent the time with our loved ones that enabled all of us to say when they are no longer with us that:  “I am glad I spent the time with them that I did.”   Is the time we spend watching TV or football or golfing, or fishing so precious that we could not have spent a little more time growing older with our loved ones?

Image

We are inundated with emails, text messages, advertisements, news, news and more news.  Our minds and brains are saturated with people beseeching us to buy, sell, rent, borrow, donate, loan or vote.  The rest of our time, we are numbed by media depictions of trivia, deprivations and horror.   We are fascinated by Hollywood, Bollywood and royalty.  For many of us, Princess Kate is more real than our own brother or sister.

When Princess Diana was killed, I remember seeing a co-worker who had a shrine in her cubicle for the Princess.   Princess Diana was one of the most popular people in the world.  She was real for many because they lived her life with her.  Recent polls show ImagePrincess Kate is now as popular as Diana once was.  The media is making Kate real for us just as it once did for Diana.  The sad part of this is not that we identify with and make these people real, it is that we fail to make the truly important people in our lives real.  How much do you know about the lives, wishes, hopes, dreams and fears of the really important people in your life?  Do you get as much news about and with them as you get about Princess Kate?

GROW old along with me!   (From Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning)

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:        

Our times are in His hand    

Who saith ‘A whole I planned,                 

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’

I think we fail to teach our children the value of time.  We teach the value of money, but we neglect to teach the value of time.  It might be argued that money and time are valued according to their scarcity.  To the young, time is plentiful and money is scarce.  To the old, time is scarce and money is (if not plentiful) at least often more abundant.  If this argument is correct, then it would be a waste of time trying to teach the value of either time or money.  Their value is fixed according to age.  I disagree with this argument.

ImageI think if you look closely, many older people have never valued time as much as they still value money.  And many young people fully understand the value of time and would readily put it over the lure of more and more money.  If this is so, then it suggests that the value of each is not fixed by age but by some mental process perhaps not fully understood.  If a mental concept or construct is at work here, it can be modified or changed by reason and logic.   I may be justified in thinking that young children need to be told that time is valuable and that in many cases it is not fungible.  You can never replace or substitute money or goods for the time that you did not spend with your family, friends or loved ones.

Time has every right to be as respected a discipline as the study of money.  In capitalism, money becomes King, money is good. We pervert nature by upending the true value of things. Tangibles become more important than intangibles.  Goods become more important than services.  Greed becomes more important than charity.  Youth becomes more important than experience.

Aristotle was right in his use of the Golden Mean concept to show how to create a balance that was harmonious with the world.  ImageAnything taken to extremes becomes evil or distorted.  Time and money are the pivots upon which the world rotates.  They must be kept in harmony.  We have lost our balance though and let money become the sacred source of happiness and success.  Perhaps the really wealthy people are the ones with more time.  Why wait until retirement to become truly wealthy?

Time for Questions:

Do you have a balance in your life between time and money?  Do you keep the really important things in your life in proper perspective?  Do you value time as much as you value money?  Do you think we need to do more to help have a balance in our country?  Are you willing to share your time with others?  How about your money?

Life is just beginning. 

 

 

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