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Warning: Time Change Ahead

Edward Grinnan muses on the pluses and minuses of springing forward for daylight savings time.

Daylight Savings Time

Here we go again. Daylight savings time. Spring forward, right? I can never remember. All I know is that we lose an hour of sleep this weekend and that seems massively unjust. I think we can all agree that none of us get enough sleep these days.

But more to the point, who are we to think we control time? Time may be relative but it is not controllable. At least not by us. Time is God’s way of making sure everything in the universe doesn’t happen all at once. If God is anything he is the Great Timekeeper for only he exists outside of it.

Time moves inexorably and in one immutable direction—forward. Physicists call it the arrow of time and there is no real tinkering with it. It is infinitely divisible, even fragmentable, but never stoppable and certainly not reversible.

Yet tinker we do, adding an hour here, subtracting one there. But it is all an illusion, a trick of the mind, like setting your watch ahead 10 minutes so you’re never really late. We are just monkeying around with our clocks, not with time. It reminds me a little of Alice in Wonderland, of which Tim Burton has directed a reputedly brilliant new movie version that I plan to see this weekend, if I can find the time.

All we are doing this weekend is shifting daylight, shuffling the diurnal deck of 24 cards. Yet I don’t think it is the hours that matter. Life occurs in the moment, doesn’t it, where awe and beauty and love and peace intersect? Living life in the moment—which is hard for us humans who are so hyper-aware of time—is a way of living in grace, for every moment of time is its own miracle, a miracle of regeneration and birth, the very tide that sweeps us through life.

There are those who say that far in the cosmic future the universe will succumb to entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, and that everything will stop, even time. Maybe so. Until then, we have the moment.

So forgive me if I ignore my alarm clock and sleep in this weekend—and live in the moment a little longer.

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