Time and Spirituality
My Road Goes Ever On
Inside and Outside Time
Time and Spirituality are not mutually exclusive concepts. One can and should inform the other. I believe in eternity—an outside-of-time reality.
“Time is not absolute, and time has no direction.” I get this discombobulating bit of news from the New Scientist, who base their conclusions on no less than Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In another step forward—or backward—scientists from Australia suggest that they have proven, at least theoretically, that time travel is possible. Okay, so here we go!
A time traveler from 2714 posted in August warning that aliens were due to arrive “tomorrow.” His timing was off apparently as none of his predictions panned out. So far. Another time traveler from 3036 (Live Your Lie—spelled creatively) warns that we’re going to have a power outage lasting five years on account of “terrors” and pretty much nothing on earth will be the same. Well, without washing machines, I’d expect so. And a time traveler from 2582 suggests that humanity will experience three days of darkness at some point in our future.
So where does all this leave me, someone who has trouble managing a one-hour switcheroo involving Daylight Savings Time?
I know for certain that when I am tired and I have a bunch of stuff to do, time drags unmercifully, but when I’ve settled down with a good book in a comfortable chair, hours zip by faster than the speed of light. So, my internal measurement of time is certainly unreliable and perhaps was never meant to be trusted as an absolute value.
I’m just pondering here—but might it be that our human experience of time is not so important in the measurement of a determined number of hours, days, and years, but rather the experience that occurs within that loosey-goosey framework?
My father passed away recently at the age of 92 on November 5th, 2021. My brother passed away at the age of 58 on January 15th, 2021. And my husband passed away at the age of 53 on December 15th, 2013. My husband was the father of eight kids, the youngest barely five years old when he died. My brother was a much-loved pastor of a large parish when he passed away. And my dad had lost the grandeur of his academic abilities long before he passed. All lived for a time, experienced a great deal, and died without anyone clicking a stopwatch to say, “time’s up.” Their “Earthly timeout” appeared random and untimely.
We humans like to control things. Our lives especially. Makes a great deal of sense to me. Out-of-control lives conjure images of chaos and the inherited hell of undisciplined excess—the lie that we can manage ourselves no matter what. But time itself has never really been within our grasp. Only, as Tolkien says through the character of Gandalf, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
In my book My Road Goes Ever On, A Timeless Journey, I reflect on my life in the context of “my personal time”—minutes, hours, days, and years are given to me to use as I decide. When waiting in a traffic snarl or dealing with a long-talker, I may complain that my time has been “stolen,” but really, I own my time as I do my life.
Over the years, I have become ever more impressed by the boundlessness of time. My ancestors undoubtedly fretted over much of the same stuff that keeps me awake at night, though they may have used different terminology to color their meaning.
Why am I here?
Do I matter?
How long will I have here?
Questions are a form of caring. And my careful or careless life and the use of my time say everything about who I am and what my life on Earth means—yesterday, today, and into tomorrow forever.
I believe in eternity—an outside-of-time reality. I don’t understand it nor can I encompass it here on our spinning Earth. But it makes a great deal of sense if Einstein and our modern-day scientists are right. Time is all around us—yet beyond us. We exist within its confines but are not confined by it.
Will aliens arrive tomorrow? Will darkness surround us for three days? Will technology cease to light our homes for five years? God knows. Which is to say, I don’t know. In much the same way that God is within, and yet, beyond me, so I accept my limitations in a boundless existence.
Time will tell…
A. K. Frailey is the author of 17 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
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