“Time … thou ceaseless lackey to eternity”: William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece
“The long unmeasured pulse of time moves everything. There is nothing hidden that it cannot bring to light, nothing once known that may not become unknown. Nothing is impossible.”: Sophocles, Ajax.
“Tempus volat hora fugit”: Virgil. (Tempus fugit)
“Time flies like an arrow – fruit flies like a banana”: Groucho Marx.
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”: John Lennon (but, so I read, based on a comment from The Readers Digest in the ‘50s.)
Some fairly well-known quotes about the passage of time; something most people think about when we begin a new year. Time is a fascinating subject and philosophers, scientists, mathematicians and religious people have all had their say on the nature of time and how we can best make use of it. Albert Einstein famously said that time was “relative” and he made it almost understandable by this rather cheeky reply to a question about relativity. He said: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
We have probably all had one of those “the world stood still” moments – if not more than one – in our lives. I know I have. One that sticks in my mind was when our whole family were in the car, driving in a very frosty North Derbyshire. We climbed a steepish hill, turned a sharp corner at the top, and the descending road was a sheet of ice. Dense woodland on the eastern side had kept the early sun off the road, which was in shadow. I lost control of the car as it slid sideways towards the right side of the road where there was a sheer drop. What to do, what to do? Somewhere from the back of my mind I remembered my Driving Instructor talking about situations like this and the thoughts, thankfully, came back: Don’t slam on the brakes, the wheels will lock up; drive into the same direction as the slide; don’t touch the accelerator but wait to see if the wheels start turning. They did! Now, very gently, turn the car away from the edge. No sudden movements, no harsh breaking, no accelerator. It worked and my family lived to tell the tale. Those few seconds, at the time, seemed like a lifetime.
Moments like that also remind us what is really important in our lives – and I do mean really important. Our whole family was in that car. I couldn’t imagine a more precious cargo.
The point I really want to make, though, is that all time is precious and for each of us, is a finite resource. As we begin the Year of Our Lord 2015 what is really important for you? Let us use our time wisely and be mindful of Christ’s teaching on the subject:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew Chapter 6, verses 25-27 New International Version
Basically, if something is important then don’t worry about it but get on with it. Time and tide and all that….
(St. Marher 1224, and Geoffrey Chaucer)
A Holy & Blessed New Year to you all.