Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. ~ William Faulkner
The clock in our church’s fellowship hall must have had an unfortunate accident sometime over the weekend. As the choir and I gathered there to pray before worship on Sunday morning, I looked around to see how much time we had. This is what I saw:
I laughed. I love this clock now. I declare this clock to be my clock and this time to be my time. What time should I be there? Whenever! It reminds me of the clock I’ve always wanted, but never got around to purchasing:
Time is a troublemaker for me. All my life, I’ve struggled with being late. My dad has always teased me for being born two weeks late, on a Sunday at 10:01. Church started at 10:00. He said I was born late, was late for church, and have been late ever since.
I know, I know – for you early arrivers, I appear to be inconsiderate and selfish. But really, I’m not. I’m taking advantage of every minute I have, right up to the last minute. If I need to be at church at 10:00 and I know it takes me 25 minutes to get there, I will leave at 9:30. Plenty of time, right? Unfortunately, that target time doesn’t take into account slow traffic, trains, or the “Oh good grief – where did that dog put my shoe” moments which invariably happen. The thing is, right up until 9:30, I’m busy doing what needs to be done: putting dishes in the dishwasher, making a phone call, paying that bill that needs to go out today, etc. Those are all things I can’t do if I leave at 9:10. Then I find myself sitting, twiddling my thumbs, waiting on others, thinking of all I could be doing instead.
I find time to be an inflexible taskmaster. The older I get, the better I get at planning my time, mainly because I have to in order to get along in a culture that is ruled by The Clock. Still, sometimes the clock makes me crazy.
Yesterday morning was a clear, brisk morning – perfect for a run. I set out on my familiar route, enjoying the cool air. At one point early in the run, I realized that I was enjoying myself so much that I hadn’t checked the clock on my phone in awhile. That never happens! I am usually aware of every agonizing second of a run. About halfway through my route, I realized I was on target for beating my own personal best time. (Don’t be impressed. It’s still very slow.) I picked up the pace a little more. As I made the turn for the home stretch, my sweaty hand slipped and hit the camera button on my phone. For whatever reason, that closed down the Runkeeper app that was tracking my time and distance. So much for knowing if I would beat my personal best. I was so frustrated! By the time I got back to the house, that stupid clock – or my obsession with what it could no longer tell me – had put a damper on what had been an otherwise enjoyable workout.
Later in the afternoon, my friend Cathy and I decided to stop by a cute garden shop that always catches my eye when I pass it. While the shop itself was closed, the gardens were open. I smiled when I saw this sign on their door:
“Closed Sunday & Monday. Open 10-ish to whenever-ish”
I like “-ish” time. Kairos time. The “right” time that is recognized by the soul and not by the clock. Do I still have to plan around the clock? Definitely . . . sometimes. But when I can, I want to live by the “whenever, whatever, feels-too-good-to-check-the-clock, –ish” kind of time. Won’t you join me?