When we want less, there is more; when we want more, there is less; when we think we have no more, it lasts for infinity; yet, there is a constant, unchanging amount for all of us. It is time. I believe that the idea of time is the most confusing and paradoxical ideas of the human race. We try to label it: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. We give it limits, we give it values, we do our best to control, harness, and organize it, but we just can’t. I believe that time is the cause of problems and commotion in our universe. We all want more. We have computers to help us get things done is less time. We have conveniences to give us more time. We even have medicines to make our time longer.
But why do we feel that we can have more time? Time does what it wants. While you are having fun with friends, time whizzes by so fast. In a boring class at school, time slows to a crawl. We all need sleep, but when we close our eyes at night, all of the time we have for sleep is gone as soon as we open them again. When I was in a car wreck with my mother and sister, I recall the exact thoughts that were going through my head. “Huh, we’ve been in an accident.” After that I realized that the car was spinning around and around in circles. In less time than it would have taken me to blink, I had enough time to think clearly those words. When we think our time is over, we get all the time that we need.
Why do we want more time? More time for what? I believe that people don’t understand what time is. I believe that time is what you are given in order to enjoy life. When I am doing what I know is best, I always have just the right amount of time. When I am hanging out with my family, I never run or have too much time. I always have just the right amount. Tonight when I was stopped at a stoplight, I had just enough time to listen to the radio preacher tell his sermon before the light turned green. I know that when I get married, I am going to have just enough time to make a decision, and say “I do.” There won’t be a pause before or after I say it; I won’t have to hurry to say it. The amount of time that I have will be perfect. I believe that time is a grand mystery, and I believe that it is better left unsolved, and enjoyed.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.