Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Sense of Time

In the wake of 9/11 there was much publicity, much puzzlement, and much pain. It was a saga that seemed would never end. A wound that seemed too deep to heal. In the midst of the chaos and confusion there were those who just wanted to do something. So as a part of that action taking number my friends and I, hundreds of miles away from the scene of the terror, piled into a couple of cars and went to our local Red Cross.

There was the obvious humanitarian connection to be made that "giving blood saves lives". There was also the variant philanthropic twist that even though we here in the Nashville area were so far away, we too could do something to aid the people of New York City. At every turn, with every click of a remote there was the in-your-face realization that death and suffering are real and a part of life in this poor fallen world.

We all had varying degrees of fear and hesitation as we reclined, feet propped up, to give blood. A lot of us had never given blood before. Most of us didn't like the idea of that knitting sized needle actually staying in our arms for 10-15 minutes! But as I layed there--having never willingly given blood--time stopped. Yes, the nurses continued scurrying around tending to the hundreds of donors. Yes, the news channels carried on with their live coverage and up-to-date reports. But in that few seconds when time stopped only for me I came to a life altering realization: "This will be over in 10 minutes."

It was the first time in my life that I had a real sense of time. The "AhHa" moment that told me "this too shall pass" but in a way that I finally understood. It was an unpublished realization that couldn't be comprehended by the humanitarian connections and the philanthropic twists. It was a truth that couldn't ever be adequately broadcast by the media.

The next time I felt real, emotional, disparing, hopeless pain I realized that, though it may not be over in only 10 minutes, the hurt would eventially be alleviated and the hope would eventially return. I began to ask myself questions like, "Will I still be reeling over this in two months?", "Will I even think about the turmoil in a year's time?", or "Will things look brighter in the morning?"

Though I'm not sure that I agree with the old addage "Time heals all wounds", I am quite sure that time makes them more bearable. And a genuine sense of how fleeting time is brings with it both a caution against waisting time in sorrow, as well as a hope that with time there will be fresh starts and happier moments. This truth has caused me to relish moments of great contentment and happiness all the more, being thankful that, even though this too shall pass, this time is here at least for the moment and is a beautiful reminder of the eternal hope to come.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Your comments remind me of the terrible time I had when I gave blood. I would do it again for friends or family, but for some reason, it does me in--not just for ten minutes, but for a day.
I was mainly logging a comment in to say that I really enjoyed the Pistol Pete entry of some time back. What poetry in motion!