Nov 09, SPI Newsletter: In the song Seasons of Love from the hit musical Rent, the cast eulogizes the death of one of the main characters by contemplating how people measure life. Amidst the refrain of “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes” (the number of minutes in a non-leap year) some propose standard units, “in inches” and “in miles”. Others a natural way of measure, “in daylight, in sunsets, in midnights”. Some prefer to mark time by mundane experiences, “in cups of coffee” and “in speeding tickets”. And yet others by moments of emotional intensity “in laughter, in strife”.
My recent visit to New England in the fall reminded me of the importance to become mindful of how I conduct my passage through time. As the land prepared itself to meet winter, I found myself off-balance in my own finitude. Like many folks who live in a fast-paced economic society such as Singapore, I often measure time from paycheck to paycheck. Without pause I lay down plans for the future in the illusion that the time to finish what I set out to accomplish is mine.
Gradually I become like the complacent man in the parable told by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 12:16-21). The crime in living as though we are immortal, aside from bordering on idolatry, is the failure to recognize time as God’s valuable gift to us.
From birth to death, it is in time that all human beings perform their personhood. Time is the grace in which we act out our lives: it lies behind us as our history, and stretches out before us as a horizon of possibility. Treading along our path in time, the choices we make reveal our true identities. We measure time, and time measures us. How do I spend my best time? What kind of person am I turning out to be as my life in time unfolds? How will I be remembered by others when my time is over? These are fair questions to dwell upon at any given moment, especially so during the coming liturgical season of Advent.
For myself, I am with the cast of Rent in concluding that we best measure our years - and our selves - in love; “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
It is my sincere desire to use the time given me to live and be known as a receiver and giver of love to all. Truth or merely lip-service? Time will tell. On behalf of all of us at the Pastoral Institute, I wish you a truly blessed Advent of spending God’s time well!
by Arthur Goh
Nov 09, SPI Newsletter