On the passing of time

October 25th, 2018 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

Because I’ve recently been eagerly searching for my next chapter, it’s taken me down some very interesting, sometimes brilliantly lit, passages. Frequently, getting older feels challenging and emotionally wasteful to me, and because of that, I’ve begun to realize that there’s plenty of time, but sometimes not enough life.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Time stays long enough for those who use it.” But Albert Einstein had his own viewpoint when he said, “Time is an illusion.”

When I revisit all the negative experiences of my lifetime –the Korean War, Vietnam, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy, the Chicago riots, Kent State, Nixon, Iraq, 9-11, Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricanes Katrina, Maria, Sandy and Michael, mass shootings in schools, movie theaters, concerts and night clubs, and the Boston marathon bombing – a quote from J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” comes to mind:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Instead of watching life passing by, my goal has been to enthusiastically work to create a legacy that helps others. I’m not striving for immortality through these actions, it just seems so much more productive than the alternatives.

As we begin to notice the sands in our own personal hour glasses rushing through like darting fireflies on a warm summer evening, we realize that the panic or unrest that we sometimes experience is not so much fear of death, but fear of not having the time left on this planet to get done whatever we think we were put here to do.

One of my favorite quotes about time and life is from Sarah Dessen.“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” Just listen.

If we embrace science’s theory that man and all of life simply evolved through billions of years of chemical interactions, there has to be some safety net, some handle to grasp onto tightly or we might free fall through infinite intellectual space.

Obviously, it could be much more fun to go through this fleeting journey with no guiding principles, no moral compass and no ethical boundaries because every day would be a random holiday of self-gratification without retribution and many days it feels as if we’re living in an era where positive values are being denigrated, ignored and vilified, but the emptiness of that type of narcissistic journey is well documented.

We now know definitively that we are connected at a molecular level with everything and everyone in the universe.

If we think positively, we can feel peace as in this quote by Rabindranath Tagore, “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

Possibly, just embracing goodness is the very best answer and a wonderful brass ring to grasp.

Think about the ethical implications of The Golden Rule. It exists in some form in every religion of the world. Maybe just doing the right thing will be enough.

If we acknowledge our complex web of connectivity, why not spend each day being good to others, and thus being good to ourselves?

It shouldn’t be about guilt. It should be about making clear, positive choices between things like giving vs. greed; or loving vs. hating; kindness vs. meanness; positive actions vs. negativity. Those positive choices are good choices.

What if we’re born, we live, and we die and that’s it?

My personal recommendation is to embrace the goodness.



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