I wear a watch every day. Each morning after I get out of bed, the first thing that I reach for is my watch. I am one of those people who is at least ten minutes early for any appointment and I glance at my watch several times each day. I wouldn’t even know how it would feel or how stressful it would be to ever forget my watch, because it simply would not happen. I look at my watch and see that sometimes time goes by very quickly and at other times time passes much too slowly. Even though it feels that way to me, my watch is keeping perfect time, time neither speeds up nor slows down according to my watch. I love my watch.
I have a friend who never wears a watch. If someone asks her what time it is, her answer is always something like, ‘it’s around……’ She’s often late, never in a hurry and is so very relaxed and stress-free. I have asked her, ‘doesn’t it drive you crazy to not know exactly what time it is?’ Her response, ‘No’. Wow, I wish that I could not wear a watch. I hate my watch.
The reality is that I am the type of person who needs a watch. I would not be casual and stress-free without my watch, as a matter of fact, it would cause me even greater anxiety. I need my watch, I adhere to schedules, I make to-do lists, I set goals and timetables. There is, however, a time when I don’t wear a watch……
Each year I try to go on retreat for a week at a monastery. You know that the monks pray many times each day and they are called to prayer by the bells. The bells ring and the monks stop whatever they are doing and come together and pray – just beautiful. The last time I was there, I took my watch off and lived by the bells. I can’t tell you how wonderful that was. The bells gave me the structure that I seem to need but not the compulsion that I can sink into. I didn’t need to know exactly what time it was, I was on God’s time. (Kairos/Chronos)
My watch sat on the desk in my retreat room for a week….maybe next time I can actually leave it at home….now that’s progress!