The Gospel Truth

A Place without Clocks | July 8, 2013

Tic tock…tick…tock…the noise can be deafening even to someone who has lost  more than half his hearing ability.

I can feel my internal clock, ticking away the seconds of my life.

During my whole life I seem to have been obsessed by time and its passage.

Think of how many expressions fill our lexicon with pithy meaning about time.

Time is running out.

In the nick of time.

It is just a matter of time.

Time on my hands.

It’s about time

The time of your life.

How many working mothers speak of quality time with their children?

Quality time?

Time is a wasting, as my dad used to say.

Ecclesiastes 3 is largest reservoir for wise statements about time.

It  says that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 A time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

When I was little I always had too much time on my hands.

The hours could not go fast enough!

A rat race against time

I wanted the time to fly faster so that I could be older…be on my own…free to marry… and have a family.

I remember the eight years in grade school.

I can still see the clock on the wall.

The second-hand seemed to be operating in slow motion.

It took an hour for a few minutes to pass in my childish perception.

I think my whole life has been ruled by time and its keepers.

My mother always wanted me home at a certain hour and was anxious if I was even a minute or two late.

Even as a grandfather it upsets me to be even a minute late for a show, a reservation or a doctor’s appointment.

I am like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, whose nervous refrain was I ‘m late…for a very important date.

I try never to be like him

In fact I was and am still are several minutes early for all of the above.

I have spent about a third of my waking hours, in offices with ten-year old magazine for company waiting for others–doctors, and  dentists,or on the street corners for friends. who are often 20-45 minutes late.

Maybe that is why one of my few indulgences is watches.

I must have 35 watches, 33 of which run on batteries.

I have at least seven “dead” watches in my drawer at any given time.

Have a Dali watch

I like to rotate them so that I may wear three different watches every day.

Maybe that is why I love baseball so much because it is one of the few games that is never over until it’s over.

I can sit and visit with friends or just take in the action slowly and even relax.

I discussed baseball’s timelessness with Gene Shalit on the NBC Today Show in 1974 during three of my 15 minutes of fame.

He brought up golf as being another sport that is theoretically without  a clock and that is golf.

Maybe that’s why I hate golf.

I was never any good at it, mostly because my lack of practice and “mastery” of the many different clubs or “sticks” as my late aunt used to call them.

But it was mostly because I never have had the temperament for the game.  There was too much waiting!

I remember one time being so frustrated by a foursome dallying on the green ahead of me that I muffed a 2-wood shot that I know would have landed on the green.

That has happened more than once.

No temperament for it

Unfortunately baseball does not have the same thrill for me any more–maybe because it is t is becoming interminably slow.

There are too many pitching changes.

Most pitchers run long counts.

They seem afraid to pitch the ball.

I used to thing that my presence at all nine innings of any game had some cosmic significance.

I felt that if I left the game early and the flow of the game changed dramatically, somehow it wouldn’t count.

I gave that idea up a long time ago.

Baseball’s heavenly quality

In fact now I go to so many games, I put my own clock on it or limit myself to six or seven innings.

And I will not stay for rain-delays during night games because my relaxation and sleeping habits are so inborn that it would throw the rhythms of my life out the window.

When I watch games or anything on TV I can not waste my time on commercials…unless I know them to be entertaining.

Never enough of it

I have worn out three remotes and two thumbs, surfing the multi channels that mostly bore me.

That’s why there is nothing like a movie that will really engage me so that I have no concept of time.

In fact the best moments of my life have been off the clock…that is when I had no idea how late or how long I was occupied with friends, family or just smelling the roses.

My late Uncle Al had the right idea about time.

He enjoyed his retirement more than anyone else I have known.

He had worked long and hard as an insurance adjuster for Equitable Life for many years and when he was not on the clock, he did all the wonderful things he had to deny himself for many years–he read many books, played tennis and took vacations with his lovely wife, the Amazing Grace as he lovingly called my aunt.

I will always treasure the time I got spend with him as my elderly parents declined in the early 1980s.

Uncle Al lived the full life until his time ran out.

Grace had developed Alzheimer’s before she was 70 and Al went a little nuts in the nursing home, as his dark memories of the war in the Pacific haunted him to his grave.

So now as I prepare for the conclusion of my 70 year–my seventh decade in September on this earth, I try to look past that and prepare for an eternity without clock, watches or even sun dials.

One of the attractive features of an eternity of bliss is there is no time.

Time implies deadlines, responsibilities and self-reminders that everyone’s time is running out…some faster than others.

I just saw the movie Gettysburg with Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee.

In one great scene Sheen had to chastise one of his generals.  He cut him off in mid sentence several times, telling him…there is no time…no time!

No time for Jeb Stuart

I think that is what Bernard Shaw meant when he said that youth was wasted on the young.

I wonder what it may be like to just “be” and not have to worry about any of the above?

I will miss my watches but then again I will never need them again or any of my clothes or possessions that have so tied me to a present moment that I could never really enjoy.

This is true because I was always looking ahead, sometimes in fear and trepidation for the next moment in time.

I know this is a very sad and even painful admission but it is part of what has made my life and the fact that I even recognize it is a purifying step in the right direction.

Time has been the bane of my existence in many ways.

I blame no one but the fear within.

I know when I die I will shed all the ties of time and all the fears that come with it.

I hope to use what time I have left in preparing for a world without clocks.

That’s what I want to do.  That’s where I really want to be.  I hope and pray it will be my final destiny.

A place without time

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10 Comments »

  1. BB, You are depressed. I am just passing “time” until my Maker calls me. Constantly looking at the clock for the “time ” for Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune”, Getting up in “time “to make the 7 a.m. Latin Tridentine Mass. Taking “time ” to slowly walk a mile in the Mall.
    Home and then what to do with my “time”. Loved your blog on Time. What are we going to do after we get out of purgatory and have eternity to “pass the time”

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — July 8, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

    • Dear Mary:

      Funny I didn’t feel depressed when I wrote it as an honest assessment of my feelings for a long time. Can one be “depressed” and not know it? I get anxious a lot but that doesn’t depress me in a clinical sense. I just accept it as me being me. Funny though in a review of a new book, The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz, a psychoanalyst in the NYT this morning, a quote from Soren Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism said that the latter’s definition of the “unhappiest man” was someone who was incapable of living in the present.” I don’t think i am that all he time—I did cite many experiences when I did lose track of all time…so I am confident I can do that but just not enough to chase the unsettled feelings of something frightening out there. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by Bill Borst — July 9, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  2. Bill, no one knows when our time has come.
    Even the pope, so long as your house is in order, why worry, cheer up old fella, everyday is a new day!
    Have a read of Chaim Potok’s books, he’s a Hasidic Jew, and has such interesting spiritual insights that we as Catholics can identify, The Gift of Asher Lev, should have been read first as it’s the sequel to My Name is Asher Lev but there my thirst began for this author
    Something different but I’m sure you would enjoy it.
    Paper backs are very inexpensive.

    Comment by L. Newington — July 9, 2013 @ 10:15 am

  3. Bill, Stay away from Las Vegas they don’t have clocks.
    Thanks for insight.

    Comment by Mike Ellington — July 9, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  4. Dear Bill
    You might lighten-up on yourself a bit.
    You are a successful man.
    You are a good person.
    Step back and see a bigger picture.
    Re-read your piece from the perspective that it also offers…

    “Time-honored truths – Showing respect for others”

    For example, there ARE meeting times.
    A) You continue to compete…to be early. (You win!)
    B) You remember the lesson that it is a sign of respect
    of/for others to be “on time”.
    C) Think of your masseuse. Being “late” is wrong, on
    several fronts. The message to him/her is:
    1) I am important; the rest of your day is affected by
    me!
    2) I don’t really like your work, so I am ambivalent.
    D) This meeting’s topic is unimportant. Send a memo.

    And, like Perry White’s newspaper of old, the rules of your profession continue to be:
    * make the deadline…..or your column is left-out.
    * miss the deadline twice and your column is replaced
    by the other writer who wants your job.

    And, there is a personal pride of good work.
    Or, the real and tangible knowledge that people look to you for “that different perspective”. This one about the changing nature of time.

    Or, the economic reality that, yes, time is money.
    I remember the time when my bid was late for the construction work at the Central Library.

    Not the job that was recently completed….the one when I was younger (and didn’t allow time for HWY-40 traffic)….TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO.
    My proposal would have been the lowest bid. It wasn’t considered. That lesson wasn’t a waste of time, just a waste of resources.

    Comment by BillyO — July 9, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

  5. Bill,
    Relax, the days of more years to come versus those that are gone has passed for both of us. We don’t have a clue what the earthly future holds for us. SO, don’t worry about what might happen you will miss what is happening. And we can only do our best to insure that our non-earthly future is good. I often have the thought/idea that heaven is a peaceful death, full of fond memories and love. One can slip over to the ” ” with no regrets or “if I had onlys”

    Ed

    Comment by ED — July 9, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

  6. Bill, just keep blogging – it’s a good use of OUR time.

    Comment by John — July 9, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

    • What a kind thing to say. Thanks for the thought. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by Bill Borst — July 9, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

  7. Bill,

    Wish I had something wise to say, I don’t. Just keep on keeping on and take the time to let us know what is on your mind. I find it well worth my time to read your thoughts.

    Comment by Jeff — July 10, 2013 @ 2:48 am

    • Jeff—thanks for the kind thoughts—they are deeper and more resounding than you think. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by Bill Borst — July 10, 2013 @ 2:25 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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