When You Triage Time
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. " J. R. Tolkien
Salvador Dali “The Persistence of Memory”
Time is a gift we often take for granted...until there is danger of having little or no time left. When this happens, how you spend your time and with whom becomes your most important priority. Time both condenses and expands depending on who you are with and what you are doing. Dividing the time you have is an important decision every minute of every day, yet we often relegate these decisions to others without realizing it.
Our work often dictates time spent away from our loved ones, our spiritual activities and our private, personal pursuits. In Armenian there is a saying I remember, roughly translated as: "Acquaintances can be thieves of your time." We speak about wasting time but we may not be aware of what or who is stealing time.
These days, screens/machines are both wasting and stealing our time routinely. Many of us will deliberately set a timer to ensure we do not go beyond certain time limits on our computer or spy phones. Advertisements and "suggested for you" distractions can lead to unnecessary minutes or hours on screens. Time becomes both compressed and expanded in cyber land. Our attention spans become shorter. Our neurons fire faster due to intentionally programmed dopamine spiking icons, sounds and click bait. Our time is twisted and we re-emerge from sessions in the virtual landscape slightly dazed and confused upon re-entering "real time" and place. We say we are "going offline" as if being "online" is the actual "new normal".
Ironically one of the best visual, documentaries about this contemporary challenge is only...on a screen; however, I do recommend this and it should be "worth your time". The title and link is listed below:
Being offline is the new luxury -A VPRO documentary. BEING OFFLINE IS THE NEW LUXURY
We are instructed throughout life to "use our time wisely" yet how much time is actually ours? Depending upon your belief in destiny and/or Divine guidance, no matter how earnestly we pray for "more time" for someone or for ourself, time allotted for each of us...is finite.
Our country/nation may have limited time as well.
We learn of "ancient times" and the eras of empires in "times gone past" but think "this time will be different for us!". When did those in the Austro-Hungarian empire know that time was running out and the end of their reign was near, that World War I would decimate their holdings?
When did Tibetans realize they were about to be overtaken by the Chinese and their time of safety in high altitude isolation was finished?
When did the Jewish and Roma populations in Europe know their very existence was threatened if they did not flee?
Timing, keenly sensing when it is time to stay and when to leave, may mean the difference between survival and death.
Sometimes we are graced with someone's presence for years, sometimes only for months or days, or minutes. It is the quality of the encounter that stays with us, not just the quantity of time.
In my lifetime, I have been graced with the presence of many remarkable human beings with whom I spent time. For some, I worked and lived with them for their last year, or few years-though at the time we thought we had heaps of time left in our lifetimes. A few times I have treated patients once or twice only to hear they were killed shortly thereafter in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Well, I won't take too much more of your time tonight. Cherish the time you/we have.