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Time is a weird thing to live in and experience; weirder still to try and articulate.

My 14 year-old daughter has a unique obsession with time- at least that’s how I see it. She will often say things like, “I can’t believe we only have two days until school starts,” or “I can’t believe it’s only a week until we leave for India.” She might say with relief, “Only two more days until Friday,” or with dread, “I’m not ready for Spring Break to be over. It can’t possibly be time to go back to school.”

To be clear, this isn’t about countdowns. My son, who started school this Wednesday, came home Thursday and said his math teacher already had a countdown posted on the board: 178 Days until Summer Break. [Sigh. I just can’t…] Again, this post is not about countdowns. It is about the thing that my daughter is attempting to articulate, about how time feels in relation to all the things happening and/or coming up in life. Basically, that time is weird.

Often when we think about life and living, we think about how time feels. Time flies. Time drags. But how is it that time has a “feel” to it, fast or slow, or anything else? The clock is always ticking, yes, but it always ticks at the same speed. Yet somehow, the various things that we are living through change our experience of time.

I heartily agree with my daughter that some of life’s experiences feel different than others. The start of a new school year always prompts an anxious sense of rushing, or urgency. It tends to feel uncomfortable, but it goes fast. New things are like that. The end of a school year also flits by, but in a completely different way, slipping through our fingers and filling our lungs with argent, fresh air. An eager readiness.

What about the long, slow, gentle feel of an evening lake-side, languid beside a ripe, peach-colored sun? Time is luxurious.

What about a family car trip, when you are almost there, but not yet, and the van is ready to burst its seams from the long day of GPS navigation and music too loud? Time is forever right then while you are stuck.

Quite unlike the moment when your car breaks down at an intersection and the other cars start moving, and one honks its horn. Then, time speeds all around you while you are stuck.

Oh, but what about the change of seasons? Like when spring has been around for awhile and the crabapple blossoms burst, and the sky is lite-brite blue while the sun shines. Time is a gift.

What about these changes of season: when children grow past squalling infancy, to toddlers poking into literally everything, to scraped knees in the school yard, to edgy, always-challenging teens, (and I don’t even know the rest of it yet!!). Or, the season when your grandmother leaves you a voicemail that is way, way too long and convoluted, but you save it because she said, “I love you,” and, well, that season is nearing the end of a season.


Time is so weird.

I’ve long had a goal of not wishing away time- which we tend to do when time feels hard, or drudge-y, or painful, or mean. We wish for the next easy, sweet, good thing on the ever-full calendar, and somehow miss most of everything in between, just getting there.

Not wishing away time is just another way of saying I want to be present in my life. Even if it feels hard, drudge-y, painful, or mean. Because time is the movement of our life, and it has a feel because life is so real.

Every moment of every day, of every week, month, or year, while the clock does its ticking, we live. Existing in God’s created wonder— by which I don’t mean to say it is all la-di-da-beautiful, but that it is God’s, and we are in it. And everything is somehow right on time.

So, we start school years, hug our children close, spend leisurely nights soaking up sunsets, and sometimes walk through valleys of hardship and death. Life is never all easy, or all hard, but we do what we can to take it all in stride as the clock ticks.

And, we fix our eyes on our loving God who leads us down the path, sometimes strolling and sometimes racing. We say our thank yous, we cry our tears. We trust. Somehow, then, as the clock ticks we find that our hearts are in sync with time, and with our good God.

Header clock photo by Malvestida on Unsplash

Peach sunset photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Math photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Timex clock photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

Katy Sundararajan

Katy enjoys writing here at the Reformed Journal about the small things that give us pause and point us to great wonder, the things that make our hearts glad and remind us of where our hope comes from. You can find more of Katy’s writing through Words of Hope free daily devotionals, and in Guideposts’ All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. Give Katy a good book, a pretty view, or a meal around the table with laughing people and she’ll say, “All is well.”


  • Daniel Meeter says:

    Keep writing! Yes, the bigness of small things.

  • Ed Starkenburg says:

    Beautiful thoughts and writing! Thanks!!

  • Arika says:

    “Life is never all easy, or all hard, but we do what we can to take it all in stride as the clock ticks.” Yes, indeed! And it is always wonderful to catch a glimpse of a friend’s face (yours!) in the racing chaos of an after-school pickup line on day 2 of middle school. No time to stop and savor a conversation or even a hello, but just enough time to grasp a small sweetness as the clock ticks. And off we go!

  • Phyllis Roelofs says:

    From my perch in retirement, after a satisfying career, time has taken on a different feel. I’m more willing to have someone, with only a few items, cut in front of me in the checkout line or seemingly in a hurry on the highway. After all, what’s the hurry, if I plan well I can wait, I’m retired, I have time, I love it.

    • Katy Sundararajan says:

      This is something that fascinates me— the fact that time really does feel so different in different seasons of life.

  • Time is one of the great mysteries. I used to take it for granted, but in this last trimester of my life, I am learning to dearly treasure the Moment. Each is a gift.

  • Jon says:

    When it comes to reflections on time, I must recommend “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman. It’s a series of brief fictional vignettes about how we might experience the world if time operated one way or another. No scientific knowledge is necessary. It’s simply beautiful, especially the one on how parents and kid’s experience time differently.

  • Emily Jane VandenBos Style says:

    Thank you for these paragraphs of reflection on time. I appreciate all that the Greek language words chronos & kairos hold about time. We live in its currents; its essence & flow resides within us as well.

  • James C Dekker says:

    Then there’s the eternity that never ends when I’m trying to back our trailer into the driveway in a normally unbusy time, but then our 3 way intersection fille instantly with impatient drivers from all 3 directions feeling offended by my 3rd futile attempt. Thank you, Katy.

    • Katy Sundararajan says:

      Oh, I feel that one!! While working at Cran Hill Ranch, I had to drive the bus with the tubing trailer attached… backing a trailer is one of my least favorite things to spend time doing!

  • Wes and Joyce Kiel says:

    Wes reminded me: God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men so that they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
    Ecll 3:11ff

    I’ll chew on that for awhile. Thanks Katy for beginning this delicious conversation.

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