Timing Time

warped clockA new rule. It will now be against the law to buy pineapple in January in Wisconsin. (There’s a petition outside for you to sign.)

I never cared for cute little slogans. “I’m glad we’re all on the same page.” Trite. “Make sure all your ducks are in a row.” And, for the sake of all breathing humanity, the worst of all is “24/7.” Why not just say, “All the time?”

We’ve erased time. We’ve erased night time. That sacred time for rejuvenation, quiet, darkness, peace; did I say “quiet?” I don’t know how third shift workers do it. They work third shift, then take a normal person’s day off, and then return to work that abnormal shift. If it’s done for the benefit of their kids then I get it. If it’s for extra money, it’s their loss. That precious quiet-time, alone time; even if you’re in a house full of others.

Whatever happened to hearing the “National Anthem” and viewing the “test screen” at midnight when NBC, CBS and ABC took a rest for a while. Nobody watched PBS. How many reruns of Bob Newhart or “I Love Lucy” do you really need to watch?

I’m not just talking about losing the darkness of night but it’s about losing healthy, necessary divisions that divide up our days. Divided for a reason – physical and spiritual. For our faith purposes, especially spiritual. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the Good Lord took a day off after creating all this glorious stuff.

Growing up we could never watch TV on a school night. Ready for this? Sunday night was considered a school night. However, Sunday night at 9:30 we could watch “What’s My Line” with Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallon and a special guest like Orson Bean or Tony Randall. And, forever whatever reason, “The Danny Kaye Show” was permitted on a weeknight, even though, “He’s not Catholic.”

Losing divisions of time and space in our world affects our minds and hearts.

You exhale a strong sigh after a long day. That breath exchange beautifully ends the workday and begins the family evening. (This is why retirement scares me. Slowly, I’ll need to segment my days or it’ll all run together into a messy mess of cheap wine and watching “As The World Turns,” only turning without me!

Do we really need twenty-four news channels? Are we really more informed today than we were forty years ago? I know that we’re not. And did you ever think that you’d live to have a “golf channel” in your cable lineup? I don’t think so. (It’s not even a sport.)

Jesus chose a desert. Not just the forty-day one at the beginning but whenever life became too much life, he needed a relief; a pause, a respite. Sounds healthy to me. Our favorite funeral reading is “a time for this and time for that.” People complain that they get distracted while saying the rosary. It’s supposed to happen that way! That’s why it’s repetitious. Allowing your mind to wander over the day that passed and wonder about what tomorrow may bring for yourself, your family, neighbors and the world.

When Copps Department store opened in Manitowoc, it stayed open … on Sundays. Pastors said to boycott the store which lasted a couple of days, with Christians soon becoming “Sunday shoppers.” You thought that Armageddon occurred when the only harm occurred in our psyche, our soul – the deepest and smartest part of us that only seems to communicate with us during downtimes, times of solitude; what parents today tell their children is “a time out.” Even in sports, you’re allowed a “time out,” a seventh-inning stretch, a halftime to rethink, replan, renew all the good stuff of your life and reject and resent whatever holds you back from being a balanced and healthy person created by God. “Halftime.” When was the last time you gave yourself one, silly hour?!

You thought dinner with a friend would last about an hour, but it lasted three of them. You’re reading a book and surprised when the clock moved forward ninety minutes. You walk around six blocks and smoothly feel any anxiety, distress, or worry dissipate into the air you’re breathing in. You realize the silly program you’re watching on TV is a distraction, a waste of your time. I remember a friend telling me that she keeps the TV on all night. It helps her sleep, she claims. I refrained from a response, but you know what I’d tell her.

We talk about clutter and hoarding in physical ways but consider what our minds absorb daily these days in social and TV media. We need time to keenly and spiritually “process” (which means thinking, praying about life stuff and current affairs), and then dismiss or pursue them.

I’ve read in several times places how “social media” alienates when its intention is to connect. Parents, I totally support you limiting all viral social exchanges until your children are thirty-years-old. Trust me. The last time I checked, nothing beats a face in front of you when you have something important to share.

The spiritually healthy activity of reflection can only take place in the night of your soul, in the darkness where all three persons of the Trinity enjoy their golden opportunity to talk to you, remind you, inspire you, assist you in making your life authentic to God’s creation – a gold, precious, sacred and most importantly, livable.

Don’t forget about the new rule about pineapple in January. Your life, and the lives of those around you, both old and new, depend upon it.


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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