Time Wins Every Time
I've Stopped Moving Furniture
Used to be, I'd move the furniture around in our two-bedroom apartment at least once a week. My kids thought that meant I was angry, because they had observed "you clean when you're angry". Hmm...
I did not know that until they told me it was so. When I thought about it, I realized they were right. Angry, depressed, or stressed, I was a mover. But if life was currently at ease in its constant ebb and flow, I would smile and nod at the living room. "Looks good," I'd say to myself. So all the while I had thought I was using weekly time to be cleverly creative, instead, all along, time was using me, and I was angry at time for beginning to defeat me. My kids were growing up, getting wiser, and I was getting older.
Because Father Time takes it all from you; time wins life every time, by giving you only so much of it and then snatching it away completely -- until you no longer can move the furniture around as you once did, because you simply can't do it anymore. Creaking knees and bad backs and weak arms just say, "Nope; no more." (You know: like Kobe Bryant.)
What's disturbing now, as I approach the age of 70, is my kids are 40! Have I taught them enough about time?
Roger Angell Is Wrong
In the context of a baseball game being played out, Roger Angell observed this about time:
"Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young."
He was saying if a team never makes its three outs to bring the other team up to bat, time is eternal. Everything keeps running around the bases, sort of in a kind of limbo.
But Rocky Balboa, in the movie "Creed", said time is undefeated because it catches up to everybody, and I distinctly take his cue, rather than the one espoused by Mr. Angell.
The thing with Mr. Angell's idea is, it sounds right. If a team keeps hitting the ball and gaining bases and runs, the game never stops, and time is thereby halted in that moment. But it really isn't halted, because it takes more and more time to keep getting those hits and run around the bases. The team would be doing it until they all turned gray and collapsed, wouldn't they?
I say no, even baseball can't stop time.
(Note: Roger Angell is an American essayist. He has written extensively about the Great American Pastime, baseball.)
So What Is Time?
A time for everything, and everything in its time is a common piece of philosophy that usually indicates a person's willingness to take life slowly and leisurely.
But, then, there's, "Not now. I don't have time!"; "I can't spare the time"; "Time is running out" and many other time-related thoughts that tell us we don't have the luxury to treat time as our casual, happy-go-lucky partner in life.
Time is always running out, from the moment of our birth to our eventual, unavoidable end.
To a person with the first philosophy, time is a friend:
A time for labor,
A time for harvest,
A time for leisure
A time to love,
A time to play,
A time to parent,
A time to grandparent,
A time to...
But this is all taking up time. One must plan his time out because even time management waits for no man.
Time, you see, is life. Each of us gets just a little piece of it.
The picture above is from the Helberg family albums and shows me (second from right), my brother and two cousins (left) on an extended family camping outing. My parents were life-long farmers and valued the time they took to vacation in off-crop months with us and their brothers and sisters. As a family, we visited often with aunts and uncles and cousins.
Although time waits for no man, no man must allot himself to waiting alone. That was a valuable lesson of time our parents taught us. Family was first, and foremost, the stuff of life, and, thereby, making time for family was time spent and lost for all the right reasons.
Of course, work time came first, because without it, there was no existence, no future, and no more time.
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Preparation and Time
My dad wasn't only a farmer. He was a skilled carpenter and welder, as well. The porch house pictured above was my father's gift to Mom. Built and screened in by my dad, it became a source of pleasant leisure hours for my parents when their retirement years kicked in. After all, that time does come, and my dad preferred to be properly prepared for it.
Preparation was one of my dad's vocal points in his years of caring for a family of eight children. His lesson of time spent in preparation for important events was a lasting one. Time is life and it's meant to be spent frugally was my dad's credo. Time spent in leisure made the hours at work viable and tolerable, refreshing the mind. Dad loved the Earth and its soil and his time in cultivating it. How to improve on his work was a subject always dear to him.
He thought there should be a way to feed the whole world, given the abundance of crops he helped produce. When not at work himself, he often expressed that desire. Dad was always thinking ahead, and he taught us to take the time to think no matter what activity was at hand.
It is a sad fact of time and life, however, that we cannot hand down to our children an exact blueprint for success in their lives. They must move onward in their own time, making their own mistakes, learning the lessons we already know, applying them in their own ways. Thus, time is spent repetitively in each generation grasping the meanings and timetables of living.
Technology has moved so far ahead that is it difficult to watch new generations learning the important values of life more slowly than ever before because they are less in touch with time.
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Many authors and philosophers have lent their brains to the questions of the value of time. Here are some easily recognizable thoughts, with my corresponding response below them:
No.1 -- Time heals all wounds...
-- Right, but that takes time!
No. 2 -- No one knows the hour, or the time...
-- Exactly, so be prepared!
No. 3 -- Time is on our side...
-- Well, but it's not!
No. 4 -- Time is money...
-- Definitely, so don't waste time!
No. 5 -- Time is not sacred until lived...
-- Yes, and now it's too short!
No. 6 -- Time reveals all...
-- And takes all!
No. 7 -- Take no note of time...
-- And die young, unprepared!
No. 8 -- Time is to keep...
-- Ah, how!?
No. 9 -- The sands of time...
-- Have no rock!
No. 10 -- Time has its way with you...
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