Moments in Time
In this 21st century of speed and action, I pause to look at the dust gathering on my old clock. Generally I rush by, too busy with my everyday chores to stop, to open it up and polish behind it’s front encasing. It has not been wound up because it’s chimes are too noisy. So it hangs silently on my wall and has become something of value that I tend to take for granted. And I find myself reflecting on whether it could be a metaphor for some of the relationships in our lives?
The quiet tranquility of this often neglected treasure reminds me that every second that ticks by is already but a memory of a moment savoured or a moment lost.And so I ask this question: What do we do with our precious moments in time? Are our thoughts so centred on our goals, our hurts, our resentments, and so much more that draws our focus that we drive the road we call life as if with blinkers on, not noticing the signs that caution us that it is time to slow down a bit.
Today I received an unpleasant surprise letter in the form of a speeding fine. I felt indignant and checked carefully to ensure that it was mine. But there was no mistake.
I had been snapped by a hidden camera just outside a beautiful village in the Western Cape called Rooiels. I was on a 100kph
road and I had missed the sign that instructed me to slow down to 60 just before I drove past the village. What is even more irritating is that I went back to check that there was a sign, since I had not noticed it before, and there it was, clearly visible on the mountain side next to the road. One would think that I might learn from the experience. But no! Even then, having taken this photo and knowing the sign was there, when I checked my speedometer while passing the town, once again, there I was driving at 75 not 60. So I ask why it is so difficult to slow down to such a moderate pace. By nature I tend to be impatient and over time have had to learn the value of patience, finding myself, time and time again, having to slow my pace to the steady beat of my heart.
The last time I got a speeding fine was 13 years ago. My father had been rushed to hospital and since his home was in Johannesburg (now called Gauteng) my thoughts were focussed on him as I raced the approximately 1500 km distance between my home in Cape Town and there, not noticing the speed at which I was traveling. In that case I was pulled over by two traffic policemen who had little sympathy for my cause. And in the end they were right. I could have had a nasty accident, possibly adding to the present crisis while potentially harming not only myself and my children but
even other fellow travelers. And when I finally reached my destination, not one saved minute mattered since my father was unconscious and would remain that way for days to come. I was left with plenty of time to sit by his bed with nothing but my thoughts and my regrets of lost moments in time when we could have talked about things that mattered but somehow never did. We always kept the surface of our relationship well dusted but never went to deeper things that matter. Is it fear that keeps us from going too deep in case we touch a nerve that might disrupt the smooth flow of a taken for granted relationship? My clock reminds me of my father since it was his and his father’s before him.
How often do we take time out sometimes to just meander; to drive more carefully and patiently, so that as we go we have time to build up in our memory banks an album filled with precious moments in time that allow us to reflect with pleasure, smile a bit and even laugh at something that was a special moment in the scheme of things. Those moments are like precious gems and as we fill our treasure chest, they are more valuable than all the wealth we might have made in the rush and pressure of our daily lives.