Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Twenty Minutes on Wednesday

I have to go start making dinner in approximately twenty minutes. At that time it will be four p.m. where I am, no matter what time Blogger says it is. (Which reminds me--I need to check my settings page to see if I've actually got the time zone set up correctly.)

I don't usually start dinner that early, but Wednesdays have become a bit more hectic since we joined the choir--practice is around the time we normally eat. So my long, leisurely afternoons of putting off thinking about dinner until the last possible moment, which works so well in the Texas heat, have to go by the wayside on Wednesdays.

So in the ten minutes I now have left, since I answered the phone (hi, sister from out of state to whom I'm talking as I type this!) I thought I'd check in, because I know that I won't have time when we get home tonight.

When I was a child, twenty minutes seemed like such a long time. I remember in early elementary school, when I realized that if I watched a total of four five-minute cartoons, twenty minutes would go by--and I was horrified! That was time that could be better spent doing almost anything else! And off I went to play, before it was too late.

Sadly, both my time-management ethics and my math brain disappeared shortly after that point. In the five remaining minutes I'd like to talk a little about how our sense of time changes so dramatically, and what that says about us as eternal beings.

When we are small, a few minutes seem like a long time. There's twenty whole minutes until the end of the school day? we'd think, scowling at the clock. And if I wore a watch to Mass--heavens! Still twenty minutes to go? You'd think we'd been here for hours by now!

But the older I get, the faster time passes. Twenty minutes is barely enough time to pound out an incoherent blog entry before I start making dinner; twenty minutes left of Mass means Mass is almost over.

And I know from people older than I am that that whole sensation increases. The elderly woman in the nursing home smiles when the Christmas decorations appear; Christmas was yesterday, or sometime last week, it seems. Memories from nearly a century of Christmases past mingle in her mind, becoming one, becoming now.

I think we will experience eternity something like that--the longer we are in the presence of God, the less we will be aware of the passing of time, the less we will know anything of time at all.

Unfortunately, it's time for me to go make dinner.

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