Recently, I was sitting in silent prayer, disturbing my meditations the ominous and irrepressible ticking of a clock. Time marched on and with each tock a tick of my life dripped away – moment by moment. Each tick sounded me closer to my death – how rapidly the seconds race by! They cannot be held back.
I have not always viewed time as containing such speed. I can remember sitting in school classrooms when the clock seemed to slow to almost a stand still when awaiting the final bell for the day. Seconds dragged by slowly as I anticipated their passing with expectation. If I could advise my younger self on this I would – don’t wish the time away. Be frugal with each moment and treasure it.
Logically, I know that time always moves at the same speed. We all know this. But maybe the advent of each day and each year passing helps to realise just how precious the seconds are that pass by. Moments never to be recovered. Time runs out, my time runs out, your time runs out.
In the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes there is a somewhat famous passage that begins with the words “There is a time for all things”. The following verses describe the diverse ambiguity of the joys and sorrows of life. Having lived through more than the half the years that I expect that I will live I have tasted this ambiguity of life. Whether we like it or not “there is a time for all things” but here’s the irony there is not the time for all things. We make choices as to how we will spend the time and with whom, which returns me to the silence and the prayer.
In John 17 Jesus says eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. The discipline of Centering Prayer has become a touchstone for me in knowing Jesus and the one who sent him. Extravagant in using the luxury of the seconds of my life seeking to encounter God more closely I trust that in these times of silence I will know and encounter a glimpse of eternity now: the mystery of God’s presence. Seeking, if only, a mere glimmer of the divine bliss, of knowing God in the scant seconds of my living. If this occurs then maybe, just maybe, I will lived have knowing what it means to live eternally within the moments of my existence.