Tuesday, May 26, 2015
TIME TO PAUSE
Wild Pig, Magdala, Israel
Post Memorial Day, 2015
There’s an old story about a man leisurely driving through the countryside on a fall afternoon and passing by an apple orchard. He notices an old farmer feeding his pigs by holding them up one at a time and letting them eat the apples hanging from the trees. So the man pulls off the dirt road, walks up to the farmer and quizzically asks, “Wouldn’t it save time if you simply shook the apples onto the ground and let the pigs eat them all at once”? And the farmer looks up even more quizzically and responds, “What’s time to a pig”?
We humans are the only creatures on the planet, and possibly the universe unless you watch the ancient aliens segments on the History Channel, that have a developed frontal lobe in our brain that can ponder the future. And of course, some have a more or less developed right brain that can reason about such things as time. A pig, for instance, wakes up every morning thinking he’s going to live forever—so far, so good! But we humans have been given the capacity to understand that our mortal time is limited and there are only so many turns of our life clocks, while no man knows the exact hour and minute it will stop. We’ve also been given the capacity to ponder life after life. When you think about it, why bother if there is none?
It’s a matter of being committed to life, not simply involved in it—like a breakfast of bacon and eggs. The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed!
But Memorial Day is a wakeup call for us all. It’s a time to pause and give thanks for all those veterans whose time was cut short to secure our tenuous freedom that’s not free. It’s a time to pause and give thanks for all those departed friends and loved ones that have influenced our life experiences and our character. And it’s a time to pause and consider if we are really, really making good use of our time.
We may choose to ignore time and merrily soldier on with the pig’s mindset that life will go on forever. The pig can be excused. But we’ve all been given the priceless gift of life with the caveat that it comes with a limited amount of mortal time for a reason. And we’ve been given the free will to do with it as we please—to squander it and wake up one final morning wondering to ourselves “Is that all there is?”--or to wake up on the other side of the thin veil rejoicing in our legacy. We could argue the point forever, but that would be like wrestling with a pig. We’d get mud all over us and the pig would enjoy it. We can continue attempting to convince ourselves that our time doesn’t matter, but that would be like putting lipstick on a pig. It doesn’t change the eternal truth that it’s still a pig and our time does matter. Perhaps the answer lies in pausing time to ponder our destiny. Perhaps over a breakfast of bacon and eggs.