I invited a friend to come over and this conversation followed:
– So, will you be here on Monday?
– I really want to, but it coincides with the kids’ bedtime.
– Oh yeah, that’s right.
– If I ask the babysitter to put them to bed, they’re likely to stay up late and get all whiney the following day. Before you know it, the entire week is ruined.
– Well, we don’t want that!
– But then again, I could just set the time.
– You what?
– I just reset all the clocks in the house. Every single one.
– You’re kidding, right?
– I’ve done it before. I just set the time at 7pm and tell them that it’s time to go to sleep. Works like a charm!
I couldn’t stop laughing.
– My children are all grown up now, but it never occurred to me to reset the clocks to make my kids go to bed early!
– Seriously? I do it all the time. Especially the clock in the hallway, I give that one a spin on a regular basis.
Even Cher can’t turn back time
My friend would set the time forward at night. Others have set it back to trick the kids into treating tired parents to some much-needed sleep in the morning hours.
I could relate to wanting to control the time. To have enough time for what’s good. Being able to stop time and enjoy the everyday magic. To skip whatever pain or grief I may encounter.
At the same time, I realize that if I were in control of time I might have missed out on much of what defines me. Refinement often comes through hardship. Pressure, time and cutting will release its diamonds.
The relativity of space and time
I have always been fascinated by the paintings by Salvador Dalí. This eccentric Catalan artist, well known for his trademark mustache and odd personality as well as for his brilliant paintings, have provided the world with artwork that challenges our minds and perception. Critics will point out that hallucinogenic drugs played into his visions, and I suspect that absinthe may have played a certain role, too. But I’m still intrigued.
In 1931, Dalí painted a tiny work of art that gained worldwide fame. The persistence of memory shows distorted clocks, melted in the sun, randomly dispersed across branches and constructed surfaces. The artist refused to say why he had painted it, making jokes about observing fried bacon and melted cheese. But the ironic title was self-explanatory.
Very few things are fixed in time. Memory betray us. What you thought you’d never forget may be lost in the whirlwind of experiences, emotions and circumstances that represent your life.
Declaring your wondrous works
Throughout Adrian’s illness, I chronicled everything. Every progress, every deterioration. Favorite toys. Friendships. How he walked when he still could. Cute little mispronounced words. Smiles. The elephant jokes that made him belly laugh. The way his hair felt to the touch of my hand. What he liked to smell for dinner.
Because we were afraid that his frail life might be cut short we wrote it all down. Knowing full well that memories are sketchy at best, we kept his medical records, too, making sure that we always remained accurate in the account of his life.
After he was healed, we continued to write down our observations, still remaining in touch with his doctors to make sure that we were truthful in our testimony. God doesn’t need us to lie to make him look good. He is the Truth. The Creator of Life. The Ruler of Time.
Sign of time
The dying Hezekiah asked God to give him more time. Remember the story from Isaiah 38? For years it was one of Adrian’s favorite stories. Somehow it made perfect sense to beg the One who holds our times in his hand to add years to his life. And God did.
As if that weren’t enough, the Lord gave Hezekiah a sign of the miracle that was to come. He stopped time. Not only that, he made the shadow on the sundial go back 10 degrees, thus confirming his promise to the king.
Joshua also knew the God of time. He asked for the sun and moon to stand still until he had defeated his enemies and God granted his plea Look it up in Joshua 10, it’s an amazing story. What happened?
There’s an urban legend saying that the NASA proved one day to be missing in the history of elapsed time. Many Christians were elated to find the Word of God to be proven true. As if it needed the collaboration of NASA. Really?
Conversations with Heaven
I am reminded of God’s conversation with Job:
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
Or who laid its cornerstone –
While the morning stars sang together
And all the angels shouted for joy?
Job 38:4-7, NIV
Our fascination with time stems from knowing that we are fragile. Exposed. Subject to limitations.
It all comes down to who we choose to trust. As for me, I’ll go with king David:
You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from you
As I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.
You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.
Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God. I cherish each and every one of them!
How grand in scope! How many in number!
If I could count each one of them, they would be more than all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!
Even when I wake up, I am still near to you.
Psalm 139: 15-18, VOICE