A Matter of Life and Death

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

A Necessary Reminder
When we take a look at some of the things life has to offer, the conclusion concerning the matter of our choices and decisions comes to light. What more can one do in the ring with right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure, opportunities and misfortunes, joy and sadness, prosperity and poverty, and wisdom and foolishness, just to name a few? All this and more centres around one thing: Management.

Management of time. Management of responsibilities. Management of knowledge. Whether or not these things happen is not the question, but rather what we do with the hand that has been dealt. I love what someone said: There are three kinds of people in this world, those who watch what happens, those who make things happen, and those who wonder, “what happened?”

There is one overlooked factor of life that must be frequently made conscious of, that is the rival: Death. A comment from Bible.org puts it this way:

Death is one of those subjects we don’t like to discuss. That’s why it’s a subject of so many euphemisms. Instead of using the word dead, we say, “passed away,” “returned home,” “gone to a better place,” “sleeping in Jesus,” or “went to be with the Lord.” At least we use those terms around the church and the funeral home. In less guarded moments, we speak of “taking a dirt nap,” “kicking the bucket,” “buying the farm,” “cashing in the chips,” “biting the dust,” or the ever-popular “croaked.” Whether we lean to the reverent right or the flippant left, we shy away from speaking directly of the ultimate enemy

A Harsh Shove
Solomon attempted to analyze death in light of God’s role with humankind, and the impact it has in our lives, especially as it pertains to the difference between existing and living. Some of the things he noted are:

Death is certain. As uncomfortable as it may be to mention or talk about, the reality is its inevitability. A very chilling thought indeed! Solomon saw that there is no one exempt from it, regardless of financial status, social influence, vocational position or anything else, one thing was true of anyone and everyone: one day there will be a complete biological shutdown (is that not a neat euphemism)?

In Ecclesiastes 9:2-4, Solomon does a lot of comparison between great and small things and creatures in the earth, chiefly focusing on dogs. In his day they were loathed, diseased and filthy animals. His unique selling point: a live dog is better than a dead lion. This illustrates that the living will come to terms with the brutality of death and thus value everything life has to offer, including the seemingly insignificant things.

Life is uncertain. In contrast to the first point and contrary to what most may believe, life is not all buns and roses filled with nothing but guarantees! The human life expectancy is supposed to be 120 years in general (Gen 6:3), but thanks to pollution of all kinds, among other things, that has depleted over the years.

As far as Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:7-12 is concerned, the finer things in life come down to our function, rather than chasing fleeting pleasures and fading fantasies. One will never know when their time may come, therefore maximizing every day to the best of our abilities includes these 3 factors:

i) Eat and drink with cheerfulness. Life is short, and to grasp as much of it as you can, party away. Enjoy the best of it, filling your heart with laughter, and your mind with memories. While you are at it, eat healthy and workout often.

ii) Enjoy your spouse while you can. The world has done quite a number on the beauty of love expressed within the union of marriage. The truth is it’s enviable, to the extent that one should seek it out and treasure it. Spouses must work through their relationship with the mindset of continual development, and avoid complacency regardless of marriage length.

iii) Get work done. In this department, to give those who have a glass-half-empty outlook regarding the job they don’t like, having to imagine walking in the shoes of those who struggle to find jobs should bring their own circumstance to perspective. Punctuality is a huge indicator of work ethic and must be taken seriously.

Whether meeting deadlines, doing admin, overseeing or managing projects and/or people, doing damage control with clients and customers, and communicating payments, know that these positive and negative experiences are what some can only dream of having.

Love your work, whether you own a business, are an employee, self-employed or an investor. Find something in your work you love and create opportunities to experience it repeatedly. Increase the value of your workplace, so that you can increase your value in it.

Conclusion
I am of the greatest opinion that those who have reached the top their game, serve as role models for the rest of us in various industries. The department in which one works is not important, but the benefit to both the recipient (client/company) and the provider. Death brings a painful reminder that not everyone lives to fight another day. It must be faced with praise to the Lord in both good and bad times (Psalm 34:1) and planning for tomorrow while living for today (Matt 6:34; Proverbs 27:1).

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Balancing Life: The Semi-Circle Of Rhythm

Courtesy of decorativeartefacts.co.uk

The Presence Of The Pendulum
Life presents us with a lot of opportunities to achieve something meaningful, do something amazing, and change someone else’s life. The real truth is we all have a chance to do this every day in one way or another, it all comes down to how we spend our time. Whether you are the busiest bee in town or the laziest sloth or feel that way, everyone has those moments to make something happen.

The worst period in my life was what I call, “The Sloth Years,” not because things did not progress fast enough in my life but because I did not have much to do! It is one thing  having one gap year in your life, I had three! That is the effect, strength and power of a lack of purpose. I literally had none. I was completely eaten up inside. The truly terrifying part was that a side of me felt impassive to the situation while the reality of it sunk in every now and then. The weight of being unproductive increased with each passing day as it horrifically became lighter at the same time. My comfort zone was all I understood. I created a world separate and distinct from civilization. The pendulum froze in one position the whole time.

Glimmer Of Hope
Before heading to Cape Town to learn video production I was a recording artist. This provided some sense of productivity but still lay in the shadows of laziness. I put effort into writing songs and fortunately managed to record a few. The artistry was similar to that of a preschool kid’s drawing. Things did not escalate past a mixtape. You could say I that received an E for “Effort.” It really hits you hard when your mind produces nothing but a vacuum as you dig as deep into it as possible in search for understanding and knowing what you were made for. Thankfully the birth of this blog emerged from those wilderness days as well. In the end they did not turn out to be completely futile. Despite this the pendulum now remains motionless on neither side of where it ought to be.

The Pain Of Overcommitment
The real truth is brought forth from the deception of overworking. After I finished my video production and film school courses, I became part of staff. A different but amazing experience. From shooting company projects to shooting and editing training ones, it stretched me and gave me a sense of fulfilment. The problem came when I found myself doing more than I bargained for. I was in charge of production equipment, garden tools, the computer lab, guest house, the staff offices, students’ theory and practical classes and homework, and finally reporting false alarms! Numerous times my plea for aid in splitting my tasks was briefly reviewed and ultimately denied. I was exasperated often but the time that consumed me with rage was when my beauty sleep was disturbed (yes even the small amount of peace I fought so hard to obtain, was taken from me), once again because of student assignments. I had no weekend. None at all throughout that year. This time the pendulum swung to the other side, held back from progression like a broken record.

The Balancing Act
After a cold year of searching for the job that suited me, I found it, then it departed from me no thanks to shareholder challenges. This opened the door to freelancing which has provided some freedom. I am currently juggling three jobs and they make every second spent in that year with work torture worth it. The pendulum finally swings smoothly from left to right, the way it was designed to. Finding the equilibrium between work and rest can be a full day job in itself but a reward worth more than the effort required to attain it. When you discover the value of working from your rest as much as the necessity of resting from your work, you begin to see how beautifully shaped each day turns out.

Time Travelling Through Life

Courtesy of i.kinja-img.com

Blast from the Past
Very popular movies like Terminator, Star Trek, About Time, Time Traveler’s Wife, and X-Men Days Of Future Past, all have an interesting curiosity about them. It is not necessarily a case of them being time travel movies but rather the fact that they get you thinking a little bit. Wondering. What would you do if you could go back in time and right your wrongs? It reminds me of when Bruce Wayne In Bruce Almighty chose to correct the problems he had when was given God-powers. Instead of prioritizing the need of others, he focused on himself. My question therefore is, regardless of the kind of past you had, what would you change if you could go back to it? A lot of our present decisions, philosophies and values are formed by various kinds of experiences from the past-whether good or bad. Both myself and others I have heard, often or occasionally say, “If I knew then what I know now,” and what I tend to redirect that thinking to is, “Do whatever it takes to make sure you never say that in the future about now.”

Journey through music
More than any other effect music has on us, I believe the greatest one is the ability to take us back to moments we enjoyed the most. Even pieces you have no idea of, simply trigger that beautiful memory that, in some small way, made a difference for you. I love how couples burst into conversation, laugh and finish each other’s sentences the second “their song” comes up. What I love about these kinds of encounters is that they never need to be distant memories. You may have heard a song last week that caused your moment to be funny, eventful, extraordinary, and unforgettable. Imagine going through a single circumstance, instrumentals, a chorus, last part of a verse,  that lasted less than 5 seconds, but still influences you in a big way today.

NB: Life Presents the Present as a Present to us.

The Gift Of Now
Earlier on the radio today the DJ and his team were asking the nation about why there are jealous family members of their rich family member. They use whatsapp as a communicating platform and some of the people that came through had some good points. Of course a few mentioned the suspicious use of juju to obtain the wealth, whilst others said that it is because of laziness and the feeling of inferiority from the victim’s side. To be honest I believe that feeling is, a lot of the time, self-inflicted. Why are you lazy? I think some people become lazy when they harbour the thought of putting effort into receiving the reward they desire: money. They want the easy way out. The DJ properly and appropriately encouraged and exhorted everyone to be serious, do what you can with what you have, make the most of it. Get up and do something. The future is not a far away country, a distant prize or a lifelong voyage. To many it may feel like it is but very big and successful companies and sports coaches, often emphasize: The Future Is Now. What day are you going to choose to say, “I have made it. I have arrived. I achieved my dream and I am living it.”?

Attracting Your Dream To You
I do know that from a reality perspective some may be thinking, “That’s easier said than done. Given my situation there is no way I can accomplish what I want.” Your life must impact the next generation in one way or another. The small things you can do must not be taken for granted. With each step you take, the more creative you get, the more connections you make, the more doors you open. It really is that simple because it is not complicated, but that difficult because it is not easy. What do you want the future you to say to the current you? What letter are you going to write to your future self? Your future self is counting on you! Do not disappoint them. Think about how much it would suck if your future self wanted so badly to be something, but you were too afraid to do something to get there. The good news though is your future self is an understanding person, even you are personally not, because they know that even though you are not where you wanted to be, at least you are not where you used to be.

Acting Patiently
The process of bringing the future to the present is the same as writing an exam. After you work, you have to wait for your results. You do not (generally) get paid after working through the day. Neither can any plant grow after you planted the seed. Depending on your performance in the exam the results will reflect that. The proportion of effort, time and preparation you put into the exam is the same degree you get in your results. If you do not like where you are now, think about what you have done, how much effort and time you put into it, and how long you (habitually) chose to wait for the results?

The Age Gap
Recently my little brother spoke to my dad about the differences between the way life is lived today and the way it was lived in his day. He went on to describe how smooth and easy things were back then. When I think about it now, the Industrial Age did actually make life better than the Information Age to some extent. For one, it took two weeks for letters to be delivered to people. If it was being delivered overseas it took around two months, so government leaders would have to wait six months for a reply to be at their doorstep. If you wanted to call someone you had to either be at home, the office or a public payphone. The catch obviously was that you had to know the schedule of the recipient, especially if you were trying to reach them at home. Most entertaining thing? Yoyo, at least from what he recalls. Apparently if you learned how to walk the dog you were the equivalent of the popular kid in high school.

In a very literal sense, “Patience was the order of the day.” Ironically that is one of my personal favourite sayings for this day and age. It comes alongside, “Everything comes down to desire.” Not to mention the typewriter for documents instead of using Microsoft Word! Now our parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts and great uncles and aunts, have to (continue to) succumb to things happening in the blink of an eye. You just have to wait a few seconds or minutes for the microwave to warm your food instead of building a fire or using the stove and waiting a little longer. They have to transition from snail mail to email, sms and chats. Instant replies instead of waiting a few weeks or months. Having to type in cell phones, both feature and smart, desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phablets, as opposed to pieces of paper. It is no wonder they have difficulty operating some of these gadgets that we Information Age people take for granted! I am more than certain it is the reason they regress so much. I used to hate having to hear, “Back in our days, “When we were growing up,” and the cherry on top, “You guys have it easy, ” but now it kind of stirs a curiosity for me. For the record I was born in the latter part of the Industrial Age so I am not too big a stranger to it. I understand both worlds quite well.

The best thing the Industrial Age did was provide jobs. If your father was a baker, you would automatically become a baker and your pension and benefits were taken care of by the government. This is where the, “Go to school, get good grades and a safe, secure job, ” mentally was born. Unfortunately it got carried over to the Information Age where creating jobs is the idea, especially from primary school age. Teaching children how to bake, draw or make jewellery and sell their product, be designers or investors, is supposed to be the norm, but the Industrial Age mentality holds them back:

Son: I want to be a soccer star
Dad: Will that put food on your table? What if it doesn’t work out, then what?

Daughter: I want to be a dancer?
Mom: Are you going to be dancing your whole life? How will you put a roof over your head with that?

The Switch
Bless their hearts. The transition is very difficult for a lot of Industrial Age people. I have seen very few of my extended family members and my friends’ families make a smooth one as though they have always lived in the Information Age. The sad reality is that things will not go back to the way they used to be. That is what introduces the greatest challenge for Information Age children living with Industrial Age parents. Two lifetimes existing in and as one. The only way to cross the present to create a bright future is to stop living in the past.

Time & Its Expressions

The Time Difference 

First there are 2 Greek words for time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the sequential or chronological time. The clock that passes as the earth continues to spin on its axis. Then Kairos is more a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time where everything happens. It’s like an opportune time, seasonal, in the sense that events occur in your life in different patterns and moments.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.

 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

All this is the kairos time because it speaks of moments in time. In other words a moment to be born and a moment to die. Those moments will transpire as chronos, the chronological time, takes place. As you begin to think about events you plan and attend, also think about how each small moment in your life affects you as it leads up to that event.  One more thing before I discuss some expressions.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Another version says, “By being at the right place at the right time.”

Expressions about time

Money expressions.
“Buy me some time” This one is often used in movies in situations where the enemy may need to be distracted so that the hero and his team can infiltrate the premises and achieve the main goal, or at least the means to the main goal. People use it today as if it’s a commodity or product. Can anyone sell time?

The thing I don’t get is, people some times or often waste time because they don’t take time to carefully think about and plan how they are going to spend their time. This means they don’t invest time in the small things so that they won’t have to worry about losing time through being unable to control their emotions, which puts them in a position where they may not be able to get that time back, especially when it matters most.

The other thing is people spend too much time doing trivial things that they think are important; are unable to make time  (or make up for it) for the really important things (friends and family); burn themselves out and end up having no time for the especially important things (meetings, talent shows, time out with friends and the intimate relationships and so on).

My favourite one, “I don’t have the time,” or “When I have the time.” Some of these expressions really are funny. It is not as if there is ever going to be a moment where time will not exist for anyone. The people who use those particularly phrases correctly say, “I don’t have time for that.” Of course some would go on to add, “Right now.” I must confess, I very often have the habit of saying that I don’t have time for that, this would usually be because I refuse to do something or prefer not to do it.

Now the show that popularised the phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” Sweet Brown, really got my friend saying that a lot. Anyone who has seen that will react that way the very second I mention that I don’t have time for that. That is the key point to mention, “Time for something.” It is completely different to simply stating that you don’t have time.

This next one is so true in the TV And Film industry, “Time is money.” When we say that we mean it in a very literal sense. The more time you waste the more money you waste, because it means whatever could not be done has to be either be redone, or the particular items, props, vehicles and so on used, need to be purchased again. Not to mention the production costs for rehiring the room, the length of the scene and so on.
People use it (the expression) nowadays either to make a point (such as a lecture against asking for money to argue for working for it) or to hurry someone up.

Uncomfortable terms
Here’s one, “I need to kill time.” Now that I think about it, it is actually quite funny if you look at it from literal perspective. Doing things that will help you pass the time should be useful for a time. Now there is one thing I do not really agree with that much:

Time heals all wounds
That simply is not true, at least, I do not think so. Some relationship break ups can be very hard, and it can definitely take some years to get over someone or recover from the break up. Those who have been verbally and sexually abused-whether as children or adults-have a really difficult time dealing with both the thought and reality of the experience. The only kind of wounds time can heal are physical ones.

Some awkward ones
I’m running short on time. Time to confess. How often have you said this?

Living on borrowed time. Meaning to live beyond your life expectancy. How many times have you heard this being said? How many people do you know can relate to this?
Anyone who has been in a situation where they survived when they otherwise would not have, had it not been for the miracle of God, can relate to this.

I’m pressed for time. I used to say this a lot. More often than not it was to make myself appear busy so that the task that someone wanted me to do, that I did not want to do, would be less important simply because I would not have time for it. There were more times where that was genuine than those that were not.

Let’s split the time. I said this a lot when it came to group activities where some individuals had more time to do a certain activity than others.

Find the time. Something quite a big majority of people have a hard time doing. All they have to do is look for it in their schedule or sacrifice time from something else. I know it is not easy, but it can be done. Interesting enough, though, you can’t find what you already have.

Conclusion
At the end of the day life is short:
James 4:14

 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]

Psalm 103:15-16

As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more

Though we may not be able to make up for lost time, we can make the most of the time that we have now.

For it is up to us to decide what to do with the time that is given to us, Gandalf the Grey: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

As every second passes we grow to realize that we will never get it back and I believe it starts with our words because it all comes from the heart. If we can guard our heart with all vigilance, above all that we guard, for out of it springs the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23), then I believe we have lived the life, that at the foundation and heart of every human’s existence, that is the life meant to be lived.
We grow in time, we learn in time, we flow with time and wait in time. When time is lost for one thing, we find it in another. Time is often traded for an experience. Which would you choose: A walk in the park with your beautiful/handsome friend or a free whole day pass in a theme park where you can have the time of your life?

Most things, if not everything, in time happen for a reason. Now that reason may not be easily understood at the current moment in time, however, there are some things that are meant to be known and revealed in due time. Therefore it is important to know the contrary effect of time. Where there is light, there are always shadows. Where there is victor, the defeated also exist. A desire for peace (in one area) can give rise to war (in another). Hatred (towards something) is born in order to protect love (for something else).  Time unveils these things as it goes by, and so all we can do is be prepared for them when they come. Of course our choices affect how these things come to be. All time does is give us the result of the choices we make. If we are disappointed with the outcome of what has taken place, we have to look back and locate the source of the choice made.

These are things that are in our control. The other things such as natural disasters, are beyond our control. All the crime in the world, the riots, the decisions politicians make at the expense of the citizens they lead, are all things that time allows us to understand when the right one comes. Our responsibility-in order to change that which we do not like-is to take the time to understand why the events have taken place the way they have up to a point where we can agree that there is nothing more that can be understood, then,  use our own personal time to the best of our abilities to improve ourselves so that we can lead a life that improves others. I am certain that the meaning of life lies in those two things.

Time is the best teacher

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.
Delmore Schwartz

Use your time wisely

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check your priorities

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
Lee Iacocca

Small things matter

You’re writing the story of your life one moment at a time.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin

Do only a few things

One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.
Chinese Proverb

Focus on the present

It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.
Marcia Wieder

Lost time gone forever

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
Author Unknown

The importance of time

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
M. Scott Peck

Don’t procrastinate

A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
Baltasar Gracian

Don’t excuse, you are in control

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
Sir John Lubbock

The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.”
Franklin Field