My father used to tell me how time seemed to go faster the older he became. Which, from my perspective at the time, didn’t make sense as I wanted to get to drinking age as quick as possible. Time couldn’t go fast enough for me.
I’m 59, will be 60 in July. My perspective now agrees with my father’s from way back then. Frequently I caught myself wishing time would slow down over the years. More, frequently now. And, I recognized something when I remembered my father’s voice as he talked about time. I could hear a sense of nostalgic regret in his tone. As he remarked how time was running away. As I sit here typing I can hear the echoes of his apprehension. This apprehension dwells under the ground, behind the hedges, around the corner, just out of reach and out of sight. But, it’s there, and the older I get it persists in reminding me to acknowledge its presence.
My father is still alive. Probably if I were to ask him about this he would join me in a mutual dissatisfaction with the way time disappears.
I realize it’s just a matter of perception. Kind of like the old saying, “Time Flies”. My mind, however, convinces me otherwise. At times I know I am becoming borderline compulsive with this. It’s something I have grown into the more time passed me by. So much time have I spent cogitating on this, I have developed an — I think — interesting, and somewhat plausible explanation for all this. I wanted to keep it to myself, because the answer — the explanation — is not one of those warm and fuzzy ones. It’s actually very prickly, and brutally matter of fact.
Actually, the understanding came slowly. Wrapped up in the everyday routines — the same old same old things — that outlined my life. Wake up, talk to God, exercise, shower, eat, go to office, come home eat lunch, back to office, home for dinner, feed dogs, T. V. , brush teeth, sleep, . . . repeat, repeat, repeat.
One day — actually it was late evening — taking the garbage cans to the street, I saw myself trundling the can just a few steps ahead of me. There I was, last week, walking the same path with same can, setting it in the exact same old place. It felt like I had just set the can there a moment ago. My mind said “That was last thursday!” but, my eyes and my knower saw it otherwise. I watched as I set the can down and walked back up the driveway, right past where I was standing. The other me didn’t even acknowledge my presence
“What’s going on here!?” My knower shouted. “Is this some kind of Hyper Delusional Deja Vu?”
I suppose if I had the energy, I could find and read, volume upon volume of philosophical and scientific (some not so scientific) treatises, that would explain what time is all about. But, I have found it simple really. Time is a created construct. It forms a kind of temporary reality in which humankind learns to love and live with the Creator of all things. This construct of reality is surrounded by the never changing true reality that has no limitations. This one, the one I live in, and you also, is subject to the finite hourglass of God.
For each of us, time ends at some point we cannot know. My mother’s end came like running headlong into an invisible brick wall. Sudden and final. For others the brick wall is raised slowly brick by brick. The body slowly wasting away until there is only a wisp of breath barely escaping into the atmosphere. Until the body’s metronome ticks it’s last tick, as the last brick in the wall clicks into place. As selfish as it is, part of me wants to run head long into the brick wall. The other part of me wants to hide the bricks from the Holy Brick Mason.
Here is the point. Time is a commodity. And, the HBM (Holy Brick Mason) is standing there with his pile of bricks watching us. Watching how we handle the time we have been given. He can see the hourglass, we can’t. I think there is a certain amount of mercy attached to that. I can’t imagine the anxiety issues that would come with knowing when the end was to come. My mind conjures up this image of an hourglass that hovers in the upper right corner of my vision every waking moment. Kind of like the health meter in a computer game that shows how much health you have left on the current life. There to remind me of how quickly I am wasting the moments. Of course it wouldn’t just be a visual of an hourglass, there would have to be a sound effect as well. Time ticking by? Nah, it’s an hourglass, so there would be this barely perceptible sound of sand sliding over glass. A soft shuffling sound that never changes and is always there underneath your conversations, underlining the movie you were watching, accenting your dreams in the night.
The scary thing about all of this is this. Routines are comfortable. We spend so much of our time creating comfortable routines. Routines that we are in control of. Building our boxes so that no one can mess up what’s inside. But, routines require very little imagination to construct and they are subject to fear. Fear that someone or something will actually disrupt that comfortableness. Routines then turn into ruts, which make us behave more like rats in a maze than living breathing receptacles for the Holy Spirit.
The danger of ruts is that time despises them. The more ruts in your life the faster time disappears from your hourglass. Matthew 13:12 says, “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” This verse works for this Hyper Delusional Deja Vu thing. The more you try to keep the time for yourself, the more it disappears. The more your life models a same old same old tired rut, the more the HBM begins to ready his trowel.
Like I said, I have spent a lot of time pondering this. Someone might ask, why would God design a system like that? I don’t know exactly. But, I have my suspicions. All I can do is put myself in His Shoes. If you created a world and a someone you thought you could live a life of love with. Wouldn’t you want that person to actually love you?
Mind you now, we are talking about the God of a Creation so large we still cannot see the edges of it. Even with the best tools human minds have conceived. We are talking about the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. He has always been alive and will always be alive. He has no beginning and no end. If you were suddenly faced with such a person, what wouldn’t you say or do to get Him on your side. To reap the benefits of being “Best Buddies” with such an individual. This is somewhat the same problem a young billionaire bachelor or bachelorette faces when they want to find a “REAL” relationship. Does my date like me for who I am or for my money?
So if you were God how would you find that “REAL” relationship? Put an ad in the paper? EHarmony?
Do you see the dilemma? So maybe you can look at time as a kind of “Dating Service Questionnaire”. Yes that’s kind of a hard truth. You are being tested. You are being measured. Your loyalty is being put to the test. And, you only have so much sand in the hourglass until your test is graded. But, before we go any further let me ‘splain something here. Someone has already taken your test for you and passed. That would, be Jesus.
Wait! You probably have connected the dots here. If I have already passed the test through Jesus, then why does the hourglass keep running. Why do the Deja Vu loops keep injecting themselves into my day? Can’t we just get this whole TIME thing over with? Life here on this planet can be difficult. Can’t we just get to the good part?
Then Jesus asks, “Sure, but do you Love Me? Do you really Love me?”
It comes down to this. Have you accepted His Lordship into your life? Claimed the destiny that Father God designed for you from before Creation was created, and intentionally, radically, started walking in that? Then you will be with Him in Paradise when the Brick Wall meets your face. But, there is one thing that comes with using your time wisely. Not only do you seem to get more time to spread His Love and Live the destiny He built for you, but you get rewarded.
Now don’t get me wrong. Those rewards are saved up for you where you cannot see them. They are on the other side of the Brick Wall.
You see, it’s all about perspective. “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. May your Kingdom come and Your Will be done, Here on Earth as it is in Heaven.” That’s all about perspective. His perspective. Jesus gives us access to the perspective of heaven. Our reward is there in the Real Reality. Remember, what I said about the temporary reality where time rules? Where would you want your reward to be stored? Here where you are only going to waste it on your Rut? Building more protection into your comfortable routine? Embellishing your Rut?
Ok, back to perspective . . . well maybe perception . . . your perception. What is real to you? Time based routine? Or, perhaps The Kingdom of Heaven? If you love Him, do you believe Him? Do you believe that He exists? Do you really believe Heaven is waiting? There is another test. He is testing your perception. Calling you to a different perspective. And, the wonderful thing is, when you change your perspective to His, Time slows down.
If you could see him, the HBM is now smiling and he has laid his trowel down. He is chuckling to himself and pointing you out to the Lover of your soul. When you love with His Love, you are using your time wisely. The more time you give away to someone the more you get back. Like I said, Time is a commodity just like money or anything else with value.
But, back to the scary part. What would you do if you could see everyone’s hourglass but yours? Would you ignore them? Would you run and hide?
The last time I had the Hyper Delusional Deja Vu happen, I was getting ready for bed. Finished with brushing my teeth I walked into my room and there I was already asleep. Sleeping in my same old same old bed at the tail end of my day’s rut. I wanted to kick me out of my bed! What are you doing there?!? Why are you sleeping? I could feel the approach. Something was coming. Standing there in my room, shivering in the cold, painfully desiring to be under the covers blissfully asleep, I realized that something basic had changed. Something had shifted. It was my room, but it wasn’t, it was different. And, the other me was not listening! He was the me in the rut!
In situations like this I like to write. I try to describe the moment. Sometimes Father God or the Holy Spirit gives me stories to write. Thoughts to implant into the world. But, I had no words for this. I don’t think there are words to describe what I could only wonder at.
I climbed into the bed and sleep came quickly. My mind tried to work it’s way around what I had just encountered, but sleep gratefully slammed the door on it.
The morning came and the rut began. Normal breakfast, Email, dressed for the office, garage door up, out into the sunshine, rut running straight and true. I backed down the driveway into the world.
The first one I noticed came at me in an approaching car. A young mother returning from her workout, starbucks in hand heading home to gather the kids for school. There it was, the hourglass! Then she was past me. I tried to turn to look, but she disappeared up the road into the subdivision. I saw the hourglass 4 more times by the time I got to the office. The hourglasses were hard to catch as cars flashed by in the opposite lane. But, I was still able to distinguish the shape through the windshields. In full freak out stage by the time I got out of my car at the office I stood there watching the cars file past me into the parking lot. Every car had an hourglass! I couldn’t see how full any of them were as the hourglasses were in the vehicle with the person they were attached to.
Eventually, I made it into my office and attempted to restart my rut . . . with no success. I was well and completely undone. And, when one of my co workers walked past my office I could see the hourglass in detail. In relationship to his head it was about a quarter the size. It was gorgeous! It looked as though it were made of crystal and gold. Solidly built and projecting a gleaming supernatural quality! The hourglass seemed like a heavenly appendage protruding into time. Maybe the hourglass was time itself. “Does time have personality?” I thought. If I asked the hourglass a question would it answer me?
As I sat there in my leather chair, waiting for my computer to boot, my mind began to toy with all the suggestions that popped like kernels of corn into that internal popcorn popper of possibilities. I think I am like any other curious guy that encounters the supernatural. There is an excitement that comes with it. A sense of importance that attends the advent of the supernatural into the life of the beholder. After all, I must be important in some way to be blessed to witness this. Right?
But, then my analytical side spoke up. “Yeah, it’s supernatural, and way cool! But, what does it mean?”
I imagined my impulsive side answering. “Mean? Who cares what it means? That’s the Hourglass of Heaven! And, God is letting us see it! It’s kind of like getting to witness the angelic interacting with the world!”
Then the analytic one, true to his name, points out, “Yeah, very cool! But, you didn’t answer my question. What does it mean? Why can we see that particular thing? Take a second and remember what the Hourglass is all about! Interacting with the supernatural in this world always has a purpose. Even if that purpose is just the exchange of a loving expression of comfort or confidence. So, Mr. Impulsive, what does it mean?”
I got up from my chair and stood where I could observe my friend across the hall. There it was hovering just above and to the right of his head. And, I could hear it! I could hear the sand falling! The sand glittered and shone as it fell down into the bottom chamber of the glass. It was almost empty! My heart wanted to break…..
How!? Why!? What do I do with this!? Why me!? Lord Help!
The questions began to come faster than I could arrange them into intelligent requests. I was stumbling inside, emotionally tripping over what I was seeing. I needed to see more. I thought that perhaps the more hourglasses I found, I would get an answer. So I walked around the office and everyone had an hourglass. Some were full, some not so full. Some were dangerously close to empty. I probably came off as very strange that morning as I doubt I answered anyone’s hello good morning.
Here we were in the midst of a beautiful Northern California brisk early spring morning. The sun was pouring in through the windows and life was in full swing as far as the rest of them realized, their ruts were safe and well stocked with everything needed to keep life comfortable. No terrorists in Chico, and the knifings and rapes only happen in collegetown or near the areas the gangs hang out. I have my Rut and life is comfortable, thank you.
Back in my office the realization came in like the sun through the slats in the blinds. God is allowing me to see His perspective. He can see the hourglasses over the heads of His Creation. Time is transparent to Him. I realized right then that the pain in my heart when I saw an empty hourglass, was the pain in His Heart. The thought came into my head, “When those hourglasses run out, they will die, and it will be ALL your fault! Why else would He show them to you?” I panicked! Was this all my fault? Was I expected to save them all? How many people are on the earth at this moment? Good old Google . . . over 7 Billion and growing by 80 Million a year . . . NO that’s impossible! How could I warn that many people before millions of those hourglasses ran out?!?
I heard, “You can’t. But, I can.”
“Lord? Is that you?” I blurted.
“Yep, tis I.” He said with a smile. “Pay no attention to the sourpuss with the colorful lies. He just wants someone to wallow in his misery with him. We know you can’t tell all the people what you see. Most of them won’t believe you, even if you tried. So, there must be another reason for showing you the hourglasses. Right?”
“I suppose so, Lord. I just know that the pain I feel when I see the time running out on someone is unbearable. And, right now I just want to run and hide. The responsibility of knowing is just too much. How do you handle it? How do you handle the pain of watching your creation kill itself off? How do you handle the pain we inflict on each other every day?” My tears were overflowing and running down my face. “So, what is the reason Lord? Why have you shown me this?” My question echoed in my ears.
“I don’t expect you to talk to all 7 Billion, but I expect you to try to reach the ones you can reach. My confidence in you is only surpassed by how much I love you. All I have ever asked of anyone is to step out and try. That is all I need to move in power and change a world. The hourglasses are a symbol of urgency, designed for this time in human history. Never has there been as many of you alive at one moment. Great and epic stories will be told throughout eternity about this time. You alone cannot do much. But, filled with my Spirit we can do the impossible. We can do Kingdom sized projects. We can refill the hourglasses of those that catch a glimpse of Me. Together we can Dance the Kingdom Dance and thumb our noses at Mr. Liar Liar Pants on Fire. We can live like the Kingdom Rules here in the land of the Hourglasses and Party till Kingdom Comes! How does that sound my Son?!?” With that last statement I caught a glimpse of One like the Son of Man dressed like it describes in Revelation Chapter 1. But, He wasn’t just standing there. He was dancing a jig!
So that was my Hourglass encounter. And, if I ever do anything ever again, the first thing I want to do is take a revolver to the head of the ruts in my life. They are going to go the way of the DoDo down the greased road to extinction!