Friday, November 2, 2007

Brilliant observation, Sherlock

So last night I was awake, again, despite the fact that my sleep over the past week has been broken, patchy, and otherwise nonexistent. I couldn't stop mulling over the events of the past week. See, in a less-abbreviated explanation, I was away visiting family who had come from overseas. This wasn't just any family, but my sister and her boys. We see each other once every year or two, and considering that I admire her enough to have named my daughter after her, you'd think this would have been a week to remember. Well, it was, but certainly not for the reasons that I'd expected. Between all the sickness, tension, whining kids, and space issues, it seemed like the week just fell apart at the seams.

Anyway, I'm mulling this over last night, unable to let it go, grasping for any way to make sense of my growing discontent. Then it hits me, the answer I was searching for:

Time sucks.

I know--how obvious. But it really ended up being the only satisfying answer I could settle on. I even came up with reasons. See:

1) Time is completely unforgiving. If you mess something up--say, the greeting of an old friend, or the famous first impression--there's no way to go back and fix it, regardless of how perfectly you can re-envision the event. If you're like me, you're constantly returning to moments in the futile attempt to have a do-over in your head. This is pointless, of course. Time doesn't do do-overs.

2) Time goes too fast. Everyone knows this. Beautiful days slip away. Vacations always seem three days shorter than they were supposed to be. Lists of household chores and plans for family get-togethers get no further than item 1 or 2 before you realize that the time allotted has too quickly passed you by.

3) Time goes too slow. Wait--what a conundrum! But it's true. Afternoons without a nap, a week with a baby in the NICU, the dreaded middle of the night feeding--these moments creep along as though each second is subdividing a la the magician's apprentice. As quickly as good moments pass, bad moments seem to drag endlessly.

4) The present is hardly ever present. Despite constant chiding to "enjoy the present," this is nearly impossible. The present, that magical moment of totally aware existence, almost always seems lost under the shuffle of dinner, diapers, spilled milk, crying babies, laundry to be changed, etc. I live constantly in the present without really experiencing the present. I'm too busy experiencing all those things that happen in the present. This is not the same thing.

So time sucks. There's too much or not enough. There's no going back, and no going forward. There's no just being. Realizing this actually helped me go back to sleep. It's not me! There's nothing I can do! I'm a victim! Okay, there are lots of things I can do, but who's got time for that?

On a related note, it made me think about heaven in a slightly different manner. I have always imagined that time does not exist in heaven. Previously I interpreted this to simply mean that time just went on forever. Truly, though, if time doesn't exist, then we can do all the things that we can't here. I can redo a moment a thousand times until it's just perfect. I can skip over those doldrum days to relive endlessly those days I would like to keep forever: that day at the fair when I was 16 and in love, the birth of my children, our first family vacation. Talk about heaven.

1 comment:

feistywon said...

I completely understand and do the same exact thing - ruminating over the unpleasant things or the things I shoulda, woulda, coulda and wishing I could go back and do it all over again. Though, honestly I know myself well enough to know that I would never think I had it "perfect" and would continue ruminating (especially in the middle of the night!). It would be like Groundhog Day where the day just turned into a bigger mess day after day as I tried my darndest to fix it. I think I'm better off just writing off those days as "Oh wells" and start trying to get in the habit of reliving the timestopping moments - early dating days, my wedding day, feeling Isabella move for the first time and seeing her held up for me to see while hearing the words "It's a girl!" I think I will be better off to dwell on these things and just write off the faux pas of my life. Something else for you to think about in the middle of the night;-)