(more on metaphysics:)
II Let’s talk about Time-It's What We Have Least of....
Because my husband is away for weeks at a time, and usually thousands of miles from home, we are highly sensitive to the passage of time and its mysteries. Before he leaves, neither of us wants to talk about the time that he’ll be away, so we live in denial, nearly until the day he leaves. While he’s away we avoid the topic of time, but speak about what we will do when he returns. When he returns we always remark on how far away he was just the day before and how remarkable it is that he’s home now.
“Time is a funny thing,” my husband says, "You think the day will never arrive-then it does-and then it's past. Looking back, it seems like I was never there." When he says this I silently muse that this is how it is with our lives.
C.S. Lewis says of the verse in II Peter 3:8, “…with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” that it “seems to take us out of the time-series altogether” (which is somewhat ironic, since Peter’s experience with the Lord is firmly based in time, space and reality). To Lewis this passage suggests because God is permanent and eternal, there is no past for Him and adds that we actually seek to be loosed from Time’s domination.
By that, I mean, that though we live in time, organize it, plan around it (or not), we are still shackled to it. It’s as if we are chained to a dead man and we cannot do anything in life without making arrangements to somehow work around this corpse we cannot unchain ourselves from (for it is quite dour).
You can see what I mean if you consider your best moments in life: you “lose all track of time” when you are immersed in a great conversation, with good company, or in a wonderful experience, whether in learning, outdoors, or a story (or movie). Parties are never better than those in which you have no sense of self-consciousness, but wherein you are “in the moment” and “time flies.” (Probably for this reason, the period from puberty through young-adulthood is the worst time, for one seems to be perpetually self-conscious.)
Lewis goes on to say, “…our hope is to emerge [from this earthbound life]… from the tyranny [of time], the unilinear poverty, of time… to ride it not to be ridden by it, and so to cure that aching wound which mere succession and mutability inflict on us, almost equally when we are happy as when we are unhappy.”
Lewis points out the obvious about our perspective on time: we are never quite used to the passing of time. He finds this remarkable since it’s unavoidable to be in this physical universe and not be affected by the passage of time. Lewis writes, “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” as though the universal form of our experiences were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised by the wetness of water.” We (humans) notice and are continually surprised by the mark of time when we revisit friends to find them aged, attend a 10th or 20th reunion, or hit an anniversary. On those occasions, if not every morning, it seems something passes our lips, as we voice a thought on the passage of time.
Lewis suggests that time is so outstanding to us because we were never really made to be finite creatures-but rather for eternity: “…[it would be strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised by the wetness of water] unless of course fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal.” Upon experiencing land, the fish would be contented not to have to be wet anymore—just as we, once we enter into eternal life, might settle back in the Eternal Kingdom, as say, “Ah yes, this is right-no more time or worry about the passage of time.”
(CS Lewis is quoted from final chapter in “Reflections on the Psalms”)