Time is sacred
7. Time is sacred.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of COVID lockdown for me. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned this past year is that time is sacred. Time is the one thing that cannot be replaced. If you take an object from someone, you can replace the object – either with the object itself or something of similar value. But when you take someone’s time from them, i.e. you are late to an appointment or you cut them off in line, then there is no way to replace that lost time. This has become painfully obvious this year as minutes and days tick away, whether it’s in Zoom delays or late unemployment checks or even waiting to get into a store while another customer argues about the mask policy.
When we lose minutes, an hour, a day, or a year, we don’t get that time back. So, it’s tragic if we see 2020 as a lost year due to COVID. Yes, it’s been terribly difficult, and some of us have experienced particular sorrows, but the time wasn’t all lost. We must find the moments of holiness and wonder and love in this past year. We must commit to doubling-down when life comes back to some state of normalcy: go to more shows and concerts, travel more, celebrate in large groups more, and do more of the things we weren’t able to do this past year – like hugging and kissing friends. But we shouldn’t do all those things because we feel like the past year was lost. We must find those silver linings from 2020. Jewish tradition understands that time is sacred and that we must mark time to recognize its holiness. Rituals help us acknowledge that time is indeed sacred. For example, every week, we honor Shabbat so it can be, in the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel, “a cathedral in time.” So, just as a person who is wandering in the desert would cherish every last drop of water in their canteen, so too must we cherish every moment of time.