Time the thing so precious to us,
Why does it pass with such a great rush?
Why isn’t time slow, as we would please?
It is far too fast to satisfy me.
But it is like traveling in mountains from peak to peak,
To no certain place you are out to seek.
You look back at the peak from which you came,
The distance so short, it’s not the same.
But you forgot the valley below,
You see, time is really slow.
This is a corny poem I wrote for English class when I was a junior in high school. I can remember why I wrote it. Just a week before, I went outside our high school to enjoy a bright May sun during lunch. I bumped into one of my best friends, to my surprise, wearing his graduation cap and gown. He, and his senior class, were practicing for the upcoming graduation march and ceremony. At that moment, I realized that Terry—in the class ahead of me—was graduating and leaving the school the following week. All those years of hanging out together were over. Indeed, I never saw him again after graduation day. (I never saw any of my friends from my own class, except one, after my own graduation day a year later.) This moment put me in a melancholy mood with regards to the passing of time and that mood lasted for at least a year.
When you are a small child, time passes so slow that it seems like a century from one Christmas to the next. It seemed like decades from the end of school each year, at the end of May, and our family vacation to the outer banks of North Carolina, which occurred in August. However, as we all know, the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. Here is a great article that explores this perception, scientifically.
The primary event that brought this passing of time to the forefront of my mind this week was losing my nephew David Baker. A few days ago, they had the celebration of his life and memorial of his passing. Part of that was a montage of photos, at least 50, that covered the whole span of his life. With the state of my illness, I could be there (in Orlando, FL and Rossville, GA) as I cannot travel, but I did see the photos.
Many of them were of David when he was a little boy. It rushed memories back into my head of the times we drove down from NE Tennessee, to Rossville, GA to visit them. I also lived with my sister and her two boys for six weeks just prior to my graduation from PA school as I was doing my OB/GYN rotation nearby them. I loved playing with David and his older brother Eric. I loved them. It seems surreal that he has left this earth and I can never talk to him again. It deeply saddens the heart. I’m glad I spoke to him a couple of days before his passing.
Time is the great robber of life and the great giver. That’s what makes it so hard. We don’t even know what time is. We thought it was just an abstract human concept until Einstein came up with the ideas that time can be influenced by its proximity to mass and speed. Both theories have been proven through experimental physics. Time is a substance.
There are so many times in my life that I’ve bookmarked, which I would return to in a second if only I could. One of those was when my kids were all little and we were living in Marquette, MI and I could sit them on my lab, all at once. I could give them a perfect father’s protection. Another time that I envy was when I was in college. But if I were to go back that bookmark, I wouldn’t know my kids or Denise, but my parents would still be on this earth and my body would still be full of health, life, and energy.
If I were to just go back a few years, I wouldn’t have my grandsons and that would be a huge loss. So, it is a huge irreconcilable quandary. Maybe I would pick a bookmark just one year ago. I would have my grandsons, but I would still be in good health. I used to have a recurring dream of flying. Now, it’s running. I will probably never be able to run again. I was running seven miles a year ago. If we went back a year, we would also have David, and possible we could have saved him, but we still wouldn’t have my mother. To have my mother, especially of being of a sound mind, we would have to go back 5-6 years, but then I would have lost two of my grandsons.
The answers are never easy. Damn the passing of time… and thank God for it as well. I dream of living in a dimension where there is no time, but the present reigns eternal, including all of its joys. I also have a fantasy where for all eternity we can time travel and go back and fix things in history. Not just fix the errors within my own life, but to fix all of history. To kidnap Hitler as a little boy and to rehab him, before hate fills his heart. Now that would be a dream and a mission from God.