01/01/05 — Thoughts on a ticking clock

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Thoughts on a ticking clock

Photographer Dennis Hill offers an interesting thought in the Argus Eye column today, as he often does. If you haven’t done so already, look at his photograph at the top of the page opposite this one.

Hill’s clock, poetry in a picture, reminds us of the obstinate nature of time. And as a person advances in age, that phenomenon becomes even more apparent than Dennis Hill probably realizes. The time to retire from full-time work, to make way for new energies and new ideas, arrives finally as a bit of a shock, however slowly it has seemed to come.

Dr. William Friday interviewed the elderly Evangelist Billy Graham on his television program and asked Graham to name life’s biggest surprise. Graham’s quick response: “Its brevity.”

As a person ages, memory’s decades seem shorter than the decades seemed when we were living them. That is not Einstein’s theory of relativity but Dennis Hill’s, and it is correct.

It is good for all of us, young and old, to be aware of it. Our lives, whether they are measured in decades or still in years, are marching inexorably toward an end, and there must be no delay in using them as they should be used.

Whether there are few or many decades left to us, we can defeat time only by looking ahead — never backward.

The beginning of a new year calls to mind a question that God asked Adam as Adam hid from Him in the garden: “Where are you?” As we pass into this new era, we might ask ourselves, where are we? Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we going?

What are the concerns that are important in our lives?

Do we have a heart for our fellowman and our community?

Do we have a heart for the people in it who are not like us?

Do we care, sincerely, about those whose lives are different from ours because of the circumstances of their birth? Can we look through the exterior of a person and see the real person inside? It is not easy. It takes practice.

Do we feel the needs of those who are on paths that will lead them to tragedy, and will we help them?

Are we willing to share what we have with those who are destitute, and to share what we know with those who are spiritually and emotionally impoverished?

Are our hearts open to fellowship with all of our neighbors? Is it open to fellowship with God?

These questions are pertinent at just this moment. The clock is ticking.

Published in Editorials on January 1, 2005 10:37 PM