“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently. How fast it goes when you’re living a life full of excitement, meaning, and action. How slow it goes when the days seem filled with worry or are mundane and unimpressionable. How unfair and disappointing it can be, and how utterly perfect it is regardless of that feeling.
I will be the first to admit that I have felt the strain of time in my own life. That I have felt burdened by the rising and setting of the sun on more than one occasion. I have been disappointed by the outcome of things and impatient for the start of things. But what I have come to realize is that time is not out to get me. It is not judgmental or subjective. It does not have an opinion of me. It doesn't know me or anyone around me nor will it ever favor me or pity them. It doesn’t know my expectations or goals. It is completely oblivious to my dependence towards it. It will not wait for me, slow down, speed up, or stop. It will continue on its own terms and without regard for any predisposed notions or plans I have set in motion. Time is more than a clock on the wall or a number on your wrist. Time is the measurement of life's moments and it has a mind of its own.
Your goals, your relationships, your career- whatever it may be- we’ve all been affected at some point by the force of time- no matter the time differences in the world. We count the months, the days, and the years on a calendar and with a clock- but even more than that we judge our lives based on where we fall in comparison to those around us. For some, maybe you’re celebrating an early arrival of a new family member, or feeling sorrow for not having enough time with another. Maybe you’ve fallen in love with someone in a month or maybe you're someone who doesn't think you will ever be loved. Maybe you’ve met someone with potential right before you’ve gone to study abroad. Maybe you’re being deployed for half the year and feel like you're missing out on life. Maybe you've been in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time. Maybe you’ve waited four years for a promotion, maybe you’ve only had to wait four months. Maybe you've graduated on time, maybe you’ve taken a year off or did an extra semester. Maybe you've decided college wasn't for you and bought a car or a house instead. Whatever timing you have faced in your lifetime- I promise you, however it may seem compared to those around you, nothing will ever change the fact that it is perfectly yours. If I'm being honest, it has taken me a long time and a bit of convincing to understand that the timing in my life has never been in the wrong. That even when it seems unfair and destined for destruction, it has always known better. There is no perfect timing other than the one God has planned for me. God's timing is never wrong. His timing is quite literally, timeless.
"God's timing is never wrong. His timing is quite literally, timeless."
Last week while visiting the treaty grounds where New Zealand signed its independence from Britain, our tour guide ended the tour with something he felt was important to share. What he said was this:
“Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to used during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank, it's name is time. Every morning, it credits you 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off at a lost, whatever of this you failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and health. The clock is running. Make the most of today.” I had heard this message by Marc Levy prior to our tour guide saying it to us that day, but it was comforting to hear the same message being delivered on the opposite side of the world. To acknowledge the fact that a completely different part of the world believed the same thing- that time is precious and should never be wasted. That this life is a gift and that what you do with it matters. Not just for you, but for the goodness of the whole world. He helped me put into perspective the timing of this trip and how I will choose to spend the next five months. It would be easy to complain about a four hour bus drive, or a fifteen hour flight, or even an hour hike to the top of a mountain- but if you learn to truly appreciate every second you’re given on this earth, you will find that the cramped legs and tired body are more than worth it. If you realize that the time given to you and the timing of your life is exactly how it should be, you will find peace. You will be impacted every day.
"...this life is a gift and your timing is yours."
Every breath, every rise and fall of the chest, is one moment closer to our time running out; and when we reach our final breath of existence, the earth does not mourn, it does not stand still, it simply goes on. It continues to turn as the edges of the deserts and seas are kissed by the morning sun and moved by the starry night. Old men exhale life from their wrinkled bodies while newborn babies take their first gulp of fresh air. The circle of life is never broken and time never sleeps. So cherish every second and make a difference every day. For there will come a day when your time here will end... but if you do it right, your legacy will remain for years to come.