“And behold I saw there before me seven clocks arrayed all about me.” spoke the voice from within. I find that my inner voice when presented with a peculiar observation tends to sound like the writer of the book of Revelation. I recently found myself sitting on the bed in an elderly woman’s room at an assisted living facility, as I looked around my surroundings I was presented with seven clocks. I also noticed a copious amount of lighthouse knickknacks but when it comes to elderly women this seemed to be quite in place, but these clocks were definitely out of place. My mind raced to and fro trying to solve this peculiar place I found myself. I asked myself questions like; Why? Why seven? Does she collect them? Is it a cruel joke? Is she late a lot? Does she have family in different time zones? I thought she probably collects them, but as I looked at the clocks I could tell there was none of real value, they were cheap department store clocks. So I moved to my times zone hypothesis, but again no luck they all were set to the same time.
As a Bible nerd I know that seven is a holy number and this woman was a devout Christian so maybe she is playing off that. I thought seven is the number of perfection so maybe she has perfect time? Maybe? But not really, I looked at my phone and the clocks were off by a couple of minutes. And then it hit me, it was so simple she was old after all and twisting was hard and therefore she has so many clocks because no matter where she sits in the room she can see a clock. I figured it out! Sadly I did not, there were clocks literately hanging right next to each other.
I can’t tell you the “real” reason why there were seven clocks but I can tell you what the Holy Spirit spoke to me amidts my clock quandary. When we come to the end God slows us down, even Jesus seems to slow down in the Gospels during his last days. The story of Jesus grinds down; towards the end time seems to pass by slower and slower. At the end of things be it a game, a movie (LOTR), an incredible summer, a relationship, or a life every waning second becomes more and more valuable. Everything counts; nothing is meaningless and wasted time burns in the soul as if the sun itself shone on it.
We live in a microwave culture and attend fast food churches where speed and efficiency are our gods. We are constantly speeding to get things done rarely stopping to examine our work and ask what it means. I remember being in algebra and not writing my work down but speeding through it in my mind. Once I did particularly poor on an exam and I asked my teacher what I did wrong after scolding me for not showing my work she looked at me and said “When we rush we screw up, slow down and take your time.” Those words have stuck with me and I know them to be true.
As I left the assisted living facility I wondered why we wait until we physically have to, to feel every step and to taste every tick of the clock. I could have just as easily died on the way back home as she could died from old age since I last saw her. The truth is none of know when, where, or how our stories here end but we do have control of over whether or not the moments leading up to our last day matter. Don’t rush through your life savor it because if you guzzle it down when you get to the bottom of the glass you will have never truly tasted your life.