This Peter Aitkens painting appeals to me as an illustration of the revolving intersections of history, current time, and a lifetime. The disarray of colors and the dripping paint off the circles gives me a sense of the wild complexity of life and our inability to retain all the intricacies of time.
YOUR HISTORY, MY HISTORY, OUR HISTORY
Major events that affect great numbers of people carry the weight we want life to have. If we have a part in the unfolding of important events, we feel important.
In one life where one person has full control, the significance of her actions makes a mark in history. We can trace the effect of his choice, out from perceived intentions into actions that touch the lives of those closest to her, and follow that connection out into the community around him.
We can measure the progress of a single life in the same way we measure history. As with history, it is difficult to judge the value of a life until the end, and then it must be judged in relation to the community around us. But we can pick an objective within a point in time that has meaning to us and then measure our progress against that objective. For example, if we choose career as a significant value, we measure our progress by events that bring us closer to the ideal.
We get satisfaction in making progress toward a goal we choose because we attach meaning to it; any kind of progress relevant to the goal is also meaningful, whether intentional or serendipitous.
We need hindsight to see the relative value of major events in our lives—a review of life as a whole. What about today? How do we measure the true value of our progress day by day? The truth is, we cannot always tell at the beginning what will hold its value to the end of our lifetime.
WE MEASURE TIMELESS THINGS WITH TIME
The way we move through time is complex and active. Time grinds out slowly and we are like gears in the great clock, our motion marking time. Records of our activity give life meaning. Celebration is a type of record. We show progress through the changes that occur and we can quantify progress with the measurement of time. This is intuitive; it all makes sense to us without having to break down how it works. We can use time to measure progress. With the passing of time, in which events develop further or fall off, we see how life proves the ultimate worth of a choice.
TRUE VALUE IS IN THE STAYING POWER OF A THING, DESPITE LIFE
We cannot hold an event by sheer will. We understand the nature of life: change is constant. A thing may hold its place only until its time ends, whether short or long. The longer it holds its place—especially if marked with the natural quality of love—the greater value we attribute to it.
The true value of a thing is in its staying power, despite life. What is timeless, immortal, and eternal in our nature sometimes appears in situations we cannot control. The impact of the unexpected makes us lose intellectual, emotional, and/or physical control. In the end, the mettle of our person is revealed in our intuitive ability to cope with the strain. The fruit of the struggle is in the unforeseen benefits that follow endurance. Value and meaning rise out of the rubble and lodge in the heart while we are engaged in activity.
The heart’s mind is the logic and direction of timeless values constructed in the heart. The human spirit is one “wheel” within another “wheel,” the body, and these intersecting wheels are the mechanisms that reveal the timeless properties of time, held in the human heart. Even though we cannot know beforehand what choices will retain value at the end of our life history, the heart’s mind holds the sequence of those values that defy the grinding cycles of time and life.
To be continued…