Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Becoming friends with time: Hauerwasian insights on disability, time, and presence
Learning to be "present" with someone who is suffering is to make a friend out of time. Hauerwas' reflection, here, is challenging (and very moving) because it challenges our standard notions of time and efficiency.
We often think of time as an arrow that "goes somewhere," and so we imagine that our lives are quickly running out. Because of this, we want to be as efficient as possible; at least we want to be efficient at doing what we want to do (whether what we do is truly efficient or good is another question altogether). For me, thinking of time as a friend is a good reflection as we begin this season of Lent. Lent is the great reminder to us that time does not work like an arrow at all. This season calls the Church to look to the past (backward) to the death, burial and resurrection, while looking to the future (forward) to Christ's second coming. In addition to this, we are called to have an eye toward Heaven (for guidance) and one directed toward the world (as it is the place we inhabit). We affirm that what Christ accomplished so long ago, is not complete or finished...it has eternal significance...a "once for all" type of significance.
Perhaps we can imagine every moment as an eternal moment, that is to say, every living moment resounds within eternity. What we do each moment matters -- each embrace, every patient act with a disabled person, all of our meals -- everything matters. So, here is to becoming a friend of time, a toast to redeeming time.