Time When You’re Healing

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photographs a clock that ran out of time.My head is dizzy with memories of times that don’t exist anymore. Times and places and people. Some of my friends say I spend too much time looking back into the past. It wasn’t always that way. I can remember wishing time away, willing it to fast-forward into the future. That was long ago. These days, it feels like every year that passes carries me ever farther from the times spent with my daughter who died. Far from the days I was happy, and strong, and oblivious to what time could bring.

The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali’s famous surrealistic painting of melting clocks, is said to depict the erratic passage of time. Persistence? Not MY memory. Memories fade, they change. Nothing lasts. But maybe time does. Erratically.

This thing called time is a sneaky thing. It drags on and on sometimes, or flies by in a blink. It silently accumulates until one day you are dumbstruck wondering where it went, and how you got to be so old and worn out. Without even knowing, you can run out of time. A valuable, irreplaceable commodity, time is a most precious gift. If someone simply shows up and devotes an hour or so of their time to you, how can you not love them?

Despite what some folks say, I’ve learned time does not heal ALL wounds. And there’s no making up for lost time. You can’t kill time, or stop it or buy it, really.

Time, when you’re healing, is life. How we spend our time is how we spend our lives. And whether or not I am here on this earth, whether or not you are here, time continues to move ever forward. Without us. That’s the scariest part.

All this flooded my mind last week when, on a field trip to an abandoned industrial complex with my photography class, I came upon a clock hanging almost upside-down, suspended at 8:04 on some unknown day when its time ran out.


Is time timeless? What lasts forever?

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6 thoughts on “Time When You’re Healing

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I’m in a shifting place, leaving some things behind and wondering what matters most to me with the remaining time. I come up with my puppy, dreams, nature, friendships, and the need to stop rushing. It’s all too precious to experience in a hurry. Thanks, Robin.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I’m in a “shifting place” too, Elaine. Exactly that: trying to figure out what’s important to me and what I can leave behind. I like your list. And I agree, the things you love most are too precious. There’s just not going to be enough time but the best times should not be rushed. This is why I’m trying to stop writing so much. It takes too much time away from things that are more important to me, more precious. Like my own pup, friends, seeing the beautiful world around me, … experiencing the beautiful world.

  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    A favorite phrase of mine, that I occasionally said to my husband, was, “Before you know it, we’ll be dead.” Now he IS dead and I know my death will be here “before I know it” as well. This is meant to be a light-hearted phrase that expresses the illusion that time is passing faster and faster each year of our lives. All we have is “this moment,” NOW.

    1. Pam

      In time there is ‘chronos’, in which we measure our lives, and there is ‘kairos’, eternity. I don’t think you are wasting time by looking back into the past, because you lived it and bringing forward what you recall of it, especially with Marika in it, is what helps to keep going forward in time.

      1. Robin Botie Post author

        It sure does help me go forward as I remember and drag along memories of Marika, Pam. And it makes her a part of my new adventures, my changing and moving forward with my life. “Whatever works,” is what I tell people who are struggling to find ways and reasons to keep living. Holding onto and squeezing tight the memories of the past is what most folks seem to do anyway. If one values her past, how can remembering it be wasting time? Thanks for being out there, Pam. I believe our sharing those times and stories with others is precious time spent well. Cheers!

    2. Robin Botie Post author

      I’m trying to imagine sharing that “light-hearted phrase” with a loved one. I might even test it out, Lynne, as I believe in it fully. But I can sooner see myself adopting the mantra in your last line here: All we have is this moment, NOW.
      I guess it goes back to the old aversion to using that D-word. Especially in regards to myself. If I say aloud, “before I know it I’ll be dead,” someone’s going to accuse me of severe depression, I’m sure.Cheers!


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