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My Time

Tami Richards, Contributing Author

s time is a fact of reality which no sane person can deny, I am certain that it is something that we all consider at some point in our lives. There comes a point when one wonders about time and how we, as individuals, fit into it. A time when we wonder a little deeper than how long it takes to drive to work so we can set the alarm clock a few minutes later. When we wonder about more than how much longer until the kids go to bed. There comes a point when we wonder about something a little more involved than how long to cook pasta without overcooking it.

The first two methods of measuring time are based on the daily rotation of the earth on its axis. One is based on the apparent motion of the sun in the sky, which is called solar time. The other is based on the apparent motion of the stars in the sky, which is called sidereal time. A third method is based on the revolution of the earth around the sun, which is called ephemeris time. Albert Einstein went to great lengths to dissect time and categorize all of its relations to reality. Time has become a concept a little more personal to me than the predictability of celestial marvels or Einstein's theories of relativity. It consists of a relatively small chunk in the space-time continuum that I like to call MY TIME.

I was born in 1964, a time of teen revolt, free love and easy spirits. A time of passion, angst and confusion. Of drugs, alcohol and condoned violence. My parents weren't much different than any of the other young people in love during the era known simply as "the sixties". They were caught up in their time.

I was born three months after John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was violently murdered before the eyes of his nation and his family. Strangely, I feel as if I remember my mother grieving as I slept in her womb.

I was too young to know that the Vietnam war guided an overwhelming number of circumstances in my life. I had no clue that my people were at war. I climbed trees, drank Kool-Aid and played in the dirt with my brothers' trucks. I didn't know that there was a reason for the people in my family behaving the way they were. A reason for their detachment from reality.

It took something like twelve years after the war before America could look a Vietnam vet in the eye. Our own family members had given their lives and their minds over to the war, and they were shunned, ostracized from community. I don't remember that either, but I do remember that some of my family members did indeed give their minds and they in turn affected the minds of their family members. Those who were young during that time may still be reeling in the aftermath of the Vietnam war.

During my time I have had the pleasure of experiencing something called "Disco." It was not cool amongst my crowd to like it, but I enjoyed it in secret. I admired the dancers; their beauty, their strength and courage. Although I was not "in" for disco because I didn't have what it took, i.e. beauty, strength and courage, I admired it from afar.

Due to the onslaught of popular media, I have seen some presidential scandals that would have made adolf hitler envious (no, I NEVER capitalize adolf hitler - severe psychological quandary.) I am not a big fan of popular media, which doesn't bother me at all, but it's interesting to me to see how popular perceptions of morality change like a shifting of the wind.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services I will live 79 years. The year 2043 will be the end of my time here. I have 34 years left in time as we measure it on earth. This is a sobering thought at best. It drives me on to complete my goals, to strive for my dreams, to hope for making an impact on this world during my time.

Does everything that happens during my time effect me, as in the theory of six degrees of separation? Does everything that I do during my time affect everything that happens? How many people can I touch while I'm here? Words are my hands and the minds of the readers are theirs. Will I hold someone's hand, encourage them, impart strength, hope and love to someone during my time? Will I help heal the wounded who are ostracized, shunned from community? What will I do with my remaining 41 years? What about the past, the future, parallel universes and time travel? Will these things affect my time and will my time have any sort of effect on these concepts?

The past. I have a great passion for studying the past. I want to know how I arrived here and who was here before me to prepare my way. I want to know how my way was prepared for me; what it cost someone and why. Why did they love me before I was born? Why have men and women given their lives in wars and famine, in disease and against beasts for me? The past influences my time like no other time can. Without the past, no one has a future.

Did Michelangelo sculpt David so that I would know the meaning of freedom in art? Did Shakespeare write sonnets to test my understanding of words? Did Chaucer know that he would make me laugh out loud as I sat alone in the room with his tome? What of Thomas Paine? Did he know that someone in the year 2009 would consider him a brilliant philosopher? I don't think that Charlotte Bronte' even dreamed that I would be here this far into the future hiding copies of "Jane Eyre" behind the book case so that no one would know that I have a strange penchant about collecting my favorite romance novel. In my time, I dream of accomplishing only a fragment of what those before me have done.

I don't think that Alexander Hamilton would have even guessed that "The Federalist Papers" would make me cry in regret over our misinterpretations of his original intent. His free nation has become soft in the belly in the name of equality. I'm certain that the framers of the constitution have rolled over in their graves more than once just over the fact that the modern populace doesn't know what was meant by "separation of church and state." The letter of the law was meant to be taken literally and should be considered with a historical and cultural context. Linguistics specialists know that modern usage is not applied to aged texts. Perhaps people don't understand historical context, or perhaps people don't understand time.

Then there's Ludwig Van Beethoven. There's a man who knows me well. It is amazing that he has reached through all the boundaries of time and space to caress my soul. He was a man who lived through battles fought in his very midst while he struggled with demons of his own. His music excites me and soothes me, racks my mind, and grieves my heart. I'm positive he had no idea of his greatness or that he was touching a future of passion for music, for expression, for a sensitive ear and heart.

I can see the future. I have nourished it during my time. Two daughters and two sons, all who have their own time. The future looks bright and happy, bold and strong. It shines with brilliance and rings true with laughter. It has promise, hope, love, courage and independence. I have played a large part in the future by bestowing the wisdom of those who lived in the past in the minds of my children. I have told them of slavery and war, of freedom and politics. We have wondered together at the awesomeness of God in heaven and His beautiful gift of earthly things often referred to as "reality." I have affected the future by holding it in my arms, comforting it and directing it.

I can dwell, and I do sometimes, on the dimness of humanity's future. Some days things look pretty bleak, as if we're going to hell in a hand basket, but then I see the future as I look into the eyes of my children. They see it differently than I do. The future is brightest when viewed through the eyes of those destined to touch it. They can still see the hope of a spring flower and they delight in the promise of a rainbow. They wonder at the lyrics to a song and delight in the magical doorway of imagination. They ponder knowledge and marvel at understanding. The children are growing and I have a grand daughter who causes me to look even further ahead, far beyond my own time into time that I dream of touching by means of my ink stained fingers.

The future will be a wonderful time, full of great inventions and great people who will use those inventions to do great things. There will be microscopic machines that travel through the bodies of ill patients, repairing the damages. I think the future will be full of a large group of scientists known as neurotheologians. My children will be there, in their time and out of mine. There will be great heros' who risk their lives running into tumbling buildings to save victims of disasters. Yes, we will always have heros'. Those who rise above normal standards of what's expected, those who seek to be a master of their time. Those who shrug off the norm and reach for higher standards and set great goals.

There will be art. I hope of a future where there will be great art displayed in the streets traveled by people in their everyday lives. I don't like that art is reserved for the elite. It is a shame that during my time the average person is not affected by the great artists of the past, or even by the great art of the present. No, in the future art will be a display of encouragement for the hard working people traveling their busy lives. As people drive down the busy roads or wait in bumper to bumper traffic perhaps there will be a symbol of comfort for them to rest their weary eyes upon. It will be art free of the wounded psyches rent from the damages bestowed upon individuals by their confused environment because it will be the art of heroes. The art of those who shrug off the norm and reach for higher standards.

Quantum physics would be a great field of study for the truly curious of the mysterious workings of time. Would it be possible to exist in two separate universes simultaneously? That would crack our entire conception of time wide open. What if as I sat here at this computer and someone in a parallel universe who looked exactly like me were doing the very thing? Writing about time. Writing my words. How dare they.

Quantum theory is truly a valid field of study, for without it palm pilots and cellular phones would not exist. It is a theory that asserts, basically, that protons, electrons and other subatomic particles are not hard and indivisible but have both waves and particles. Are words protons, electrons and subatomic particles once they leave my mind? Perhaps my words travel through time and space and reach people in other worlds, in other times, traveling on neurons that are invisible to the naked eye. Do my words mean anything if I don't know where they go? Does it matter?

Quantum physics requires careful thought, for one does not wish to feel meaningless, as if what one does is being done elsewhere. What of free will, my choices; do I make them or are they being decided by someone else, someone infringing on my time? Negative thoughts abound when I ponder parallel universes which is why I will endeavor to think on the concept slowly. I'm not sure how to approach this theory as far as pertaining to me in my time, but I have 34 years to ponder the implications. I'll take it.

The advent of time travel would make my discussion obsolete, but I would be the first to volunteer for the experiment. I would not hesitate to take the opportunity to go back in time and touch those who have touched me all these years later. The problem would be, of course, who to choose first. I think that I would choose Jesus Christ because of His healing power. God Himself. Yes I would love to travel back in time and touch Him as He walked along His Way.

No one knows that their words will reach people for many years after their time. Shakespeare didn't know when he wrote "Romeo and Juliet" that nearly five-hundred years later we would still scramble to see the play as if we'd never heard of it. Michelangelo had no idea that the Sistine chapel would be so well preserved in the year 2009. America's fallen heros of the World Trade Center disaster had no idea when they woke up that day that it would be the end of their time, or that they would live on in so many hearts. Of all the words that they spoke in their lifetime, their final statement has left an impression that will not be forgotten.

Time is a fact of reality that no sane person can deny, but I try my best. I never remember my work schedule which changes from week to week. I could, but I don't. It's almost as if I try to defy time, or at least ignore it. I am always early to appointments because I don't want to have to hurry. I want to drive around the long way and see the scenery, or if a great song comes on the radio I HAVE to finish singing along to it.

My time is more than how many hours a night I sleep, or how many hours I work in a week. It is more than the time of my birth, or the day of my death. From this point in time right here, my time is measured by my ink stained fingers.


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