The Passage of Time

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

As we celebrate the new year and get accustomed to writing “2021” on letters and checks, we realize that while the clocks and calendars move forward, time as we know it has changed. For many of us, we cannot remember the date or even the day of the week. Our schedules have shifted, our perception of time has changed. The pages of the calendar turn so rapidly while simultaneously each hour moves sluggishly… or precisely the opposite: the days seem to drag on and then we look back, surprised at where they went.

That is precisely why it is time to read a most engaging though brief novel about time called Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. Per the back cover, it “is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905 while he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds.” We are invited into Einstein’s brief but vivid dreams which means we are invited to experience beautifully crafted human interactions illustrating how time moves at different paces in different areas, when it stands still, when mechanical time and body time conflict, when it repeats over and over again and more.

As we enter into 2021, regardless of how upside-down the world feels, we have the opportunity to let time pass or to be fully present in time. I invite you to use your time well by reading this novel and deepening your thoughts about how you interact with time. Happy 2021!

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