Forever? Or just a moment?
It feels like this is going to go on forever.
I know it hasn’t been that long. It just feels like it. This is July. It was back in March when we first became concerned in our community. Churches stopped gathering for worship, restaurants closed, doctors cancelled appointment, nursing homes and hospitals restricted visitors, toilet paper flew off supermarket shelves and we started wearing masks.
It’s been four months. We’re worshiping at church, but at a distance. A few can go to restaurants. I’ve caught up on doctor appointments. There’s plenty of toilet paper but hardly any hand soap at the store. More people are wearing masks. And the news is still mostly about Covid-19. It feels like it’s been four years. I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I wake up every morning to the same news. More people are sick, more people are dying, more people are wearing masks, and more people are angry about wearing masks.
Is there an end in sight? Yesterday I read that most of the research to find a cure or produce a vaccine has yielded little if any results. Those who like to make predictions estimate it will take five to ten years to get past this. If we do at all. It already feels like we’ve been doing it that long.
During a phone conversation today, though, I realized it’s almost been a year since my dad died. A whole year? Already? Those eleven months have flown by. Time is time. It passes at a constant rate. So why is my perception of time so different when applied to different chapters of my life. Why does time sometimes seem so long, like the line to get on the roller coaster, and other times short, like the ride itself? Why do the first hundred miles of a long trip pass quickly, while the last 100 seems to take forever?
Plenty of people have asked that question. How many have come up with an answer? None that I know of. I do know that time passes because I measure it. I watch the clock, I have a schedule, I have events on my calendar and appointments to keep.
Sometimes on my day off, I take off my watch. I don’t worry about the time. And when I do that, time doesn’t bother me, either. On those days I’m never late, I’m never rushed, it’s OK if I have to wait for something or someone. I find that fascinating. It’s like I can step away from time when I need to. I should probably do that more often.