Archive for March, 2012
I can remember running all day when I was eleven, often all the way to the park or the middle of town, a good two miles either way, full blast, never stopping to rest or catch my breath…but I can’t do that anymore. Oh, sure, I can run…just not all day without stopping to recover and recharge. TIME has stolen that from me, time, the ultimate villan who makes it a point to invade and disrupt our lives whenever it can.
If you ask me, time has a lot to answer for, because it has stolen a lot of people I’ve cherished along the way, too. Always eager to meet and know EVERYBODY, I somehow managed to include a lot of older people among my friends in the tiny town where I grew up, mostly because I valued their experiences and wisdom far more than my contemporaries’ and because they were willing to SHARE it with me…but as time has sneaked its way along, I’ve found myself going to a lot of funerals.
A particularly painful one of those was my old scout leader’s, where I told him in my mind I’d be seeing him again…because now I KNOW I’m no more immune to time’s implacable harvest than HE was, time, the HARD, inescapable taskmaster, but the way I see it, time doesn’t give a royally good damn about what we think, just does its thing and leaves recriminations and sadness to what it no doubt sees as meaningless and useless emotion…that is, if it sees ANYTHING. After all, it’s only a concept of physics.
And Einstein said it doesn’t really exist; he called it an illusion, a STUBBORN illusion to be exact, but I gotta tell you, Albert E., to me…and a lot of my older friends…it FEELS pretty real. When those I hold dear die, I tend to keep asking myself what this is REALLY all about; I mean…if time is illusory, WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GO? Einstein also said there was too much energy in a living human being to just disappear; physics and mathematics REQUIRE it to go somewhere else, and don’t give me all that crap about somewhere we can NEVER know or understand. I’m not wired that way.
For sure, he’s there now, Albert E., wherever THAT is…in a place we can never wrap our minds around…and…in a way…that’s time’s fault, too. Like the ball in a ping-pong match, we’re endlessly bouncing around reacting to forces driving us in evermore unexpected…and often counterproductive…directions. Hey, Time, here’s an irony for you; we don’t have TIME to work it all out…too busy trying to deal with what you’re throwing at us, but I think your impact is all part of the plan…whatever that plan is.
I tend look to history when I feel my back up against the wall, desperately hoping SOMEBODY in the past had a clue about what’s REALLY going on, but to tell you the truth, they didn’t. NOBODY’S ever figured it out, so if it DOESN’T really exist, I’ve decided to consider time best understood as a SIMULTANEOUS continuoum, like a river where everything’s happening all through history at the same instant…just at different locations on the curve, the way I choose to believe God sees it. And if old Albert E. was right and time REALLY is the illusion he said it was, it makes sense.
In my way of looking at it, the story of our lives locked in time are a lot like a book to God. While King John is reluctantly accepting the Magna Carta, Ankhesenamun is desperately writing to the Hittites to bail her out of her connubial problem so she won’t have to marry Aye, Jefferson is sweating out the exact wording of the Declaration of Independence, you are being born…and dying, and Jesus, the Prophet, Confucious, and numberless saints are spreading words of beatific promise, God can turn to whichever page He chooses and either edit or appreciate it.
I SINCERELY hope He isn’t offended when I bring editing into this. I’m POSITIVE He knows how I feel about editors, but I also believe He can transmit what He KNOWS of our future to a chosen few down here…explaining the accuracy of soothsayers and prophets through the years…and not just Christian seers. MANY all over the ancient world were INCREDIBLY accurate. I know you liberal agnostics and athiests are going to find this part tough going, but whether you like it or not, there IS a God, and He is…what did my English teacher say when I was in high school? Yes, I remember…OMNISCIENT, OMNIPRESENT, and OMNIPOTENT. By the way, time got that English teacher, too.
I’ve said it before, humanity will NEVER develop the ability to move through time. Its grasp on us is just too great to work around, even if Einstein considered it illusory. Besides, if ANYBODY had been able to do it in the future, we’d have MET him by now…somewhere along the wheel of our history, but it hasn’t happened yet…so I think it never will Maybe the whole system is only meant to teach us to live in…and appreciate…what we know as the PRESENT, to do the best we can with what we have and leave our notch in the wheel of time brighter, softer, and a little better.
I hope that’s what time is doing, at least ONE redeeming quality to justify its carnage, because recently a good friend of mine died, and the disturbing thing is he was MY AGE: time one, J.J. zero. A good guy who’s book suddenly and unexpectedly slammed shut, he, like me, believed he had YEARS ahead to enjoy and be happy within, but he was cut short, far shorter than he DESERVED…proving to me at least, whatever its lofty purpose, sometimes time can be an ABSOLUTE BASTARD.
You’re a THIEF, time, and anyone who’s lived more than twenty seconds KNOWS it; we just don’t know how to CONTROL you…and probably never will, but that doesn’t mean we like what you do…and also probably never will. We’ll deal with what you do to us and pray it’s all part of some Divine plan, but before you get us…as you ALWAYS do, we’re gonna live, and love, and try to make the world better…whether you’re an illusion or not! J.J. probably never considered anything like this, but while he lived, he lived MAGNIFICIENTLY…and taught me something.
So, good night, J.J., I’m sorry you didn’t realize it while you were alive, but at least now I do…and that should give you some comfort wherever you’ve gone. Whatever it is, illusion, something carved in stone, a river, a figment of God’s imagination, or a simple physics paradox, I know…and understand. Time’s not ANYBODY’S friend; it’s a COMMON THIEF…and now I know something else, too. It’s hot on my ass…just like it was on yours. Actually, it’s hot on EVERYBODY’S!