A 74-year-old woman summed up pandemic time: “It limited and slowed down face-to-face interactions while speeding up progress on some projects that had lain dormant…time is precious. Using it wisely is harder when your activities are limited and your schedule falls apart.” T. S. Eliot captured such time distortions with these words: “For most of us, there is only the unattended Moment, the moment in and out of time.” You may ask, “What was Eliot trying to say?”
My take on Eliot’s message is that time feels slippery. What feels like a “long” time to one person may feel like a “short” timeframe for another. And to make matters complicated, people are not good at attending to present moments. Our nearly constant mind chit-chat ties up so much of our time that we may feel we run “out” of time on a given day.
A 71-year old man offered these timely reflections: “[The pandemic offered]…me more time for contemplation and strategic thought…I did not feel that I lost time…[lessons included] some patience, some resilience…like a repeat when I was drafted in the service, like something you were compelled to do, [it was] better to accept that than to bemoan it…the greater your gratitude, the greater your happiness.” All of us are veterans of the pandemic invisible war with its ongoing deadly strikes. The veteran make-it-through toughness with a nod to gratitude makes me think about Father Time.
Consider the grandfatherly image of archetypal Father Time who holds a farm-harvest tool, a scythe. Greek mythology’s Cronos was a god of time, harvest, justice and fate. This pandemic season is challenging economic harvesting and our sense of justice; it is fateful for many. Father Time represents veteran journeying through life seasons and enduring whatever befalls him. In some art Father Time holds Baby New Year, a hope-filled rejuvenation possibility. However, Father Time did not have to worry about running out of baby formula for his protégé.
British detective novelist Agatha Christie explained time this way: “I have been on a journey. Not so much a journey back through the past as a journey forward—a starting again at the beginning of it all—going back to Me who was to embark on that journey forward through time.” This optimistic time-travel is another way of suggesting that we trust and embrace our essence, a core self, to lead us onward.
The essence of a pearl is embracing “what is” and growing forward. If there is a pearl to harvest in any shell, it comes out of a trauma ancestry. Pearl conception begins as a natural defense against an intruder – an irritant entering an innocent “parent” oyster or mussel shell. Today’s pandemic is an invisible irritant.
Is there a pandemic space-time continuum? Harvest your interpretation about the meaning of time, pandemic time or otherwise. Your thoughts matter.
Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz:
82. What has pandemic time meant for you?
83. How might you find some pandemic pearls?