It’s free yet it’s priceless. You can use it but you can’t borrow it. It can be your friend or your worst enemy. You have no control over it, and you can’t move it forward or slow it down. What is it?
It’s called TIME – a simple four-letter-word with such powerful meaning behind it. “Time = Life.” Time is the only unpredictable measurement that comes between the moment you’re born, and the moment you take your last breath. But what is time to you?
The word “time” creates an image in my mind of an Olympic athlete racing against a clock toward the finish line. Nothing matters more in that moment than time itself; every fraction of a second counts. Another moment I envision is watching the countdown of the clock during a football game, and the opposing team is down by just a few points. When you think about it, one could say there is no such thing as losing; they just simply ran out of time. Regardless, “time” is not only about winning or losing. It goes far deeper than that.
When the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, it made the world question many things, including the meaning of time, and how invaluable it is. Typically, you wouldn’t foresee a national tragedy to have a theme song, but on how many occasions did you hear “Only Time” by Enya playing on the radio during that heartbreaking era? Employees’ working in either trade tower that were running late that morning thought time wasn’t on their side. On the contrary, time is what saved their lives. Same goes for the passengers who missed their flights that day. Just think if only one person didn’t make it on time to their metro station stop; or if someone stopped to tie a shoelace on the sidewalk; or the coffee shop had an unusually long time that morning. All of those examples of time could have meant the difference between life and death that day.
Time is everything when a loved one is dying. Imagine a Hospice nurse’s role in helping patients with their end-of-life care. “Time” is what they represent to grieving families. The nurse measures the patient’s pulse beat per minute. When the time has come, the nurse peacefully says, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Just like that, their time on earth is done. Life in human form is gone forever, and a permanent date and time is marked on a death certificate.
Just as time can take away a life, it can also represent the spirit of bringing a new life into the world. Most mothers could tell you the exact time their child was born. After nine months of anticipation, excitement, and curiosity, time is no small thing to a mother. Many expectant mothers can’t wait for “time” to reveal their baby’s gender before it’s even born.
The only time one person’s life and another person’s death play a role together, at the same time, is through organ donation. Organ donors make the ultimate sacrifice in saving another person’s life. Matching and compatibility are everything when it comes to saving a life. Will the recipient receive the organ in time? Only time will tell.
There are moments when “time” feels like an unattractive word:
- To a coworker, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the promotion. It just wasn’t your time.”
- After a loved one dies, “I’m so sorry for your loss. Time makes things easier.”
- Once a relationship ends it’s usually accompanied by, “Love takes time to heal.”
- When a student hasn’t finished taking their exam before the teacher yells, “Time’s up!”
Just like the old saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” it can also drag when life sucks. Prisoners and insomniacs probably know this better than anyone. For insomniacs, it’s unbearable to watch minutes tick by while you’re lying there wide awake. Waiting on medical results is a time-dragging experience as well. Also, chronic pain sufferers know how slow time can move. Time may not fix anything but it does teach us how to live with the pain.
Regardless of whether you use it wisely or waste it away, time keeps on ticking. And we shouldn’t question the days we’re stuck in traffic or got up late for work. Perhaps there is bigger meaning behind those moments saving us from a misfortune?
No one would be able to recognize good times without having bad ones. Time is a part of where you are, what you do, and who you’re waiting for. Until the moment we die, “time” makes us all equal in that we each get twenty-four hour days. How we choose to spend it is what determines our future.
As Michael Altshuler said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”