At our lives’ end, how will we account for the time given to us? The Psalmist reminds us to number our days, “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”.
By the time you read this edition of Methodist Message, some of you would be winding down your work and activities for the year.
Others may be planning or are in the midst of your year-end holidays. Vacations that are promised as a reward for hard work. Holidays for some much-needed family time or for connecting with others. The end of the year is associated with closing accounts and crossing another milestone of your journey through time.
It is timely that we pause and think about our relation to time. Time is invisible yet present in all our human endeavours. Its coming is anticipated and its passing may generate feelings of relief or sadness. It is precious and though everyone has the same daily supply of it, some seem to do more with it than others. Although a second and an hour is the same duration no matter which part of the world one is in, it creeps by slowly at times, and at other times, is over in a flash. Many in this modern world are slaves of it, and some train to master it.
One evening, I asked a couple when the painful incident the wife had just related happened. She reported that it had happened in May 1995. Yet, the emotions were palpable as she spoke about it, as if it happened only yesterday. I told her that 20 years is too long to carry this pain, and it was time to let go of it, and for her husband to be forgiven of his thoughtless act.
Some of us are like this couple caught in a time warp. Other aspects of our lives seem to go on but some parts, especially those involving troubled relationships, seem to be frozen. It is captured in both our memories and our emotions.
Research in trauma tells us that our bodies do not forget some traumatic incidents, which are sometimes retained in the form of muscular aches, spasms and tics. These physical symptoms persist after physical damage from the traumatic event has healed.
Then there are others who are in denial of the process of aging. They exhaust all methods to look youthful, unwilling to let go of what they have and anxious about what the future holds. Who can blame them when we live in a time where ageism is common, and growing old is associated with being a liability and the loss of significance?
Here is an exercise to help you examine your relationship with time. Close your eyes and think about five words or phrases that you associate with the word “time”. For example, “Time is money.” Next, ask yourself what feelings are stirred within you as you think about time. Is there regret for things not done or hope for what is to come?
At our lives’ end, how will we account for the time given to us? The Psalmist reminds us to number our days,“that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, KJV).
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Benny Bong has been a family and marital therapist for more than 30 years, and is a certified work-life consultant. He was the first recipient of the AWARE Hero Award in 2011 and is a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.