I know the word “endure” usually has such negative connotations, but that’s not what I’m after here.
In looking at the Wordle graphic from yesterday, I was struck by the fact that the word I used most over the past two months on this blog was “today.” Probably not too surprising for a daily blog, but two of the other top words were also time-related: “day” and “time.”
So that got me thinking about time today (there’s that word again), and how we experience it. To borrow from a bit of French philosophy: the way we usually think about time, we treat it as though it were space. In other words: we treat time as though it stretched out in a line, one thing after another. We measure time as though we could lie minutes out against a ruler and count them off, one by one.
But we live time on a different order–as duration. When we are “in the moment,” time doesn’t stand still, but it feels different. Instead of measuring time pass, we experience it as an unfolding process. Time passes, but duration becomes and endures. I think that must be part of the reason why childhood summers seemed to operate under such a different logic of time, compared to the regimented days of the school year. But that’s enough philosophy–if you want a bit more, feel free to head off to Wikipedia and read up on Bergson….
So for today, my focus has been on becoming aware of the moment I am in, not the succession of minutes connecting my past to my future. I found this attention to duration particularly useful during those “moments” today when I caught myself becoming impatient. Rather than thinking about keeping to a schedule, or whether or not I was on time or running late, today I did my best to just let the moment I am in unfold. I could literally feel the moment shift, and in that shifting, I could feel myself becoming more aware of what was going on right in front of me.
We’re down at my in-laws again for a visit. My father-in-law is doing pretty well today, but we really don’t know how long that will last. It’s hard not to think about how many weeks, or months, or years we might have left with him. It’s good for today, though, to remind ourselves to appreciate the enduring moments we have together as they unfold.