Be careful about how you spend it…

by Joe Boudreault

We cannot measure time in a way that puts it into a neat cubbyhole where we can take it out and see it as a complete doctrine or object. Time is too illusive for that. How do you even define it to the satisfaction of everybody? Does it have a different meaning for a different, well, time? Is it viewed from the present only, looking back at a fixed value and ahead at an uncertain value, or is it predetermined and immovable, with the past unknown in part and the future unknowable in full?

But the passage of time is real, a phenomenon that is measured by our minds. In a way, that makes it a sort of dimension of its own, a territory in which we all dwell and which is bordered by birth and death. Each of us inherits a portion of this immeasurable commodity and we are never certain how much of it is ours. For this reason, we should consider it as being very precious.

Time, then, is divided into lifetimes, generations, years, seasons, and those are subdivided into months, weeks, days and hours, minutes and seconds. There are good reasons for all of these divisions. Human society works within the self-assigned packages of what are in fact the portions and chapters that make up our lives. Some are brief and some are long. We can be sure that God only knows who will get the brevity and who will get the longevity.

In the structure of the year, it is the seasons themselves which govern the measures of time by which we toil and work in order to survive. Foods grow according to seasons, animals migrate according to them, rains and sunshine nourish the earth according to them. Within that, we dream our plans, we plot our moves, and we sweat the heavy stuff.

Since God allots us our time, we would do well to make good use of it. Recognizing our Creator is a good start. Coming to grips with our mortality is a sure course towards wisdom. Plan for a hundred years, someone once said, but be prepared to leave here tomorrow. A minute frivolously wasted may seem innocuous, but hours are made of minutes and days made of hours. This very moment you are in should be considered precious. It will never occur again. Time spent at work gains one thing, time spent at prayer another, time spent in leisure still another thing. For everything there is a season under the sun.

Time cannot be bought or sold, it cannot be twisted, it is neither sped up nor slowed down, and it is absolute and democratic. The cradle recedes and the grave advances equally towards everyone. While its passage may appear to vary, that is only our perception. It is quite true: time waits for no man. It is the invisible scroll on which history is written and it is unalterable and unidirectional.