I’ve been thinking about time lately. So today I’d like to share with you some random thoughts about time—if you’ve got time!
Time is difficult to define. Here’s one definition: Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in an apparent succession from the past, through the present, to the future.” Got that?
From early on, humans have devised ways to measure time. The earliest known calendar, discovered in Scotland, dates back 10,000 years. It is a lunar calendar as many early calendars were. It was Julius Caesar who put the Roman Empire on a solar calendar. He added two months to an already existing ten month calendar: July named after him and August named after his successor. (That’s why SEPTember is not the seventh month, OCT is not the eighth month, NOVember is not the ninth month, and DECember is not the tenth month.) Pope Gregory XIII tweaked that calendar and over the centuries the Gregorian calendar was adopted by numerous nations. Today that calendar is the most commonly used calendar in the world.
Here are some interesting facts (at least I think they are!) about time:
Time passes slower the closer you are to the center of the earth. On top of Mt. Everest, a year is 15 microseconds longer than at sea level.
A day is not 24 hours. It’s 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.2 seconds. Hence, our need for a leap year (an extra day) every four years.
When dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were 370 days in a year. The earth’s spin is slowing down, so the days are shorter—by 1.7 milliseconds per century.
Humans have been creative at measuring time: sundials, water clocks, hour glasses, mechanical clocks (first invented by the Chinese). In 1522 Ferdinand Magellan had 18 hour glasses on each ship for his circumnavigation of the world.
The first alarm clock dates back to 250 BC in Greece. It was a water clock that set off a whistle.
Until the 19th Century, towns had their own time. For example, Bristol was 11 minutes behind London. It was the railroad companies that pushed for a standard time so people wouldn’t miss their trains.
In 1930, Joseph Stalin abolished the weekend in Russia in order to increase productivity. The week had only five days. (He was not keen on family togetherness or religious worship either.) The next year, the week had six days, one day of rest staggered throughout the community. But in 1940, the project was axed and Russia returned to the seven day week.
Let’s conclude today’s reflection with some quotations about time: The greatest possession you have is the 24 hours directly in front of you… How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. (Annie Dillard) The key is not spending time, but investing it. (Stephen Covey)
There is only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on. (Leo Christopher)… Time spent with cats is never wasted. (Colette)… Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments. (Rose Kennedy)
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time (Marthe Troly-Curtin)… Yesterday is a cancelled check: Forget it. Tomorrow is a promissory note: Don’t count on it. Today is ready cash: Use it! (Edwin Bliss)…
Perhaps our mantra for today could be: God of all time, thank you for this moment…
Do you wear a watch? Why or why not? How many clocks do you have in your house? Why?
For most events, are you ordinarily early, right on time, or late? Why do you think you are this way?
What kind of things do you “waste” your time on that you consider are NOT a waste of time?
Anything else in this reflection that you’d like to respond to?
PS: As you may have noticed, we had a problem with last week’s blog. But later in the week, Mike, one of our IT people, got it up and running again. Sorry for the inconvenience!
PS #2: I am typing this from my new office in the Notre Dame Educational Center. I am sitting amid a sea of banker boxes. Many are already empty. Others are awaiting decisive action. The Sisters here have been VERY welcoming! I thank them and I thank you for the support of your prayers during this big move in my life.
Our song is an “oldie but goodie.” It’s “In His Time” sung by the Maranatha Singers. I chose this version because of all the beautiful images. I hope you enjoy it!
Please feel free to respond below to this reflection, the questions, the video, or other responses!