How could we endure to live and let time pass as
if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back –
if we did not know that every day in life
fills the whole life with expectation and memory
and that these are that day. ~ C.S. Lewis
I once had a watch that lost 5 minutes a day. That’s not very much time really – only about 30 hours a year. But I had to keep resetting it or I’d lose track of time.
We are time travelers by nature. We talk often of the danger and damage of time travel if the voyage is a negative one. It’s costly to dwell in negative past: living in grief or guilt or resentment – rehashing and replaying what was or wasn’t.
And we warn each other of the perils of the dwelling in the negative future: the land of what if, of dread and worry and fear. We make a concentrated effort to maintain sea walls against those aspects of the past and the future.
I’ve been thinking about other types of time travel that distract from the gifts of the moment. Fine, fond memories that call to me, happy and exciting things yet to come, vie for my attention and my heart.
I can be having a delicious breakfast that I almost don’t taste because I’m off thinking about dinner. I can be looking at a beautiful sight without fully taking it in because I’m anticipating what’s around the next corner.
The past serves both as a reference point and a treasure. When I visit it that way, as a place of lessons learned or in sweet remembrance, it’s of rich value.
Pleasant anticipation of the future is a part of hope. It only becomes problematic when I stake my tent in the past or the future, regardless of the landscape. The trouble with time traveling is that I miss the moment I’m actually living in. It’s like my 5 minute a day watch. I lose time.
If I could add up all the hours spent in dread or anticipation and all the hours spent remembering with pleasure or with grief, I’m certain it would add up to much more than 30 hours a year.
The past and the future are fine places to visit, but poor places to live. Not only does the Father promise sufficient grace for this moment, but it is in this moment that He speaks. If I’m not here, I won’t hear.