I am fascinated by time.
As strange as it may sound, I’m not sure I know what it is! My summer of 3rd grade was so vast that 4th grade wasn’t visible. And yet, three months pass in the blink of an eye.
Einstein discovered time is relative. Assuming our perception of time relates to life span, a quick “dog years” calculation for me places the summer of 1963 at 24 months in duration. That seems about right!
Applying the same logic to our young granddaughter suggests my request for her to sit still for a minute is actually 40 minutes on her time scale. No wonder it’s so hard!
Standing under a clear night sky, it’s unimaginable that starlight reaching our eyes began its journey hundreds or even thousands of years ago. I guess that means I’ve never seen a star, only the ancient artifact of its light.
I’ve tried studying the physics of time, but the logic escapes me. For example, take the question, “What is happening on a distant star right now?”
Physicists say it’s nonsensical. The explanation is that my “now” doesn’t exist for a star. Time and space are a “fabric.” The star occupies a different space. Therefore, our “now” cannot be shared.
See what I mean?
That’s the theory, but let’s be practical. What can we say about the time we share with each other?
Whether one adopts a strict physicist’s definition of time or my “dog years” calculation, we simply do not share the same time with another person. Perception is reality, and our perspectives differ.
Where does that leave us?
Hellen Keller made the most astute observation relating to this predicament I have ever read, which is amazing considering her perspective arose from silence and darkness.
“All that we love deeply becomes a part of us!”
Love is the bridge that unites us in space and time. The greater we expand our constellation of “we,” the richer our experience of time.
Time is usually marked with a beginning and end. In reality, the space-time fabric of existence has no beginning or end. This strangely fits! Those who become a part of us live eternally in our hearts!
Whether a distant star still exists is unknowable. Yet, every person who has become a part of us is always present.
MJ and I had Keller’s words engraved inside our wedding bands.
According to quantum physicist Carlo Revelli, “The mystery of time is ultimately, perhaps, more about ourselves than about the cosmos.”
If so, philosopher Martin Buber captures the essence of time:
“What is loveliest is that we love.”
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