The Clock I See

The Clock Of Time Remaining


There it is. I can see it in my mind. It is on a wall, or it is floating in the air a short distance in front of me. Sometimes I can hear it ticking. I saw it when I was driving the other day, in the distance hazily visible amid the clouds in the sky. Sometimes, I can see the second hand the sweep hand the one that does the seconds, I see it moving around the clock. The time is clicking, a minute at a time the minute hand makes a click noise as it advances each and every minute. Sometimes the sound reverberates.

It is the clock that is counting down. It is MY clock. The one that tells me how long before I die. That’s right, the time has been determined. I cannot see the exact time, nor the day, nor the month, nor the year. But the clock is running down to time zero.

I ask myself, what if I knew. What if I knew when, when my final moment would be. How would I live differently? How would I spend my days? What would be different in my interactions with people? With my family, with friends, with strangers I connect with in the course of my daily routine?

What would take priority? What is most important to me that I wish to accomplish before the clock reaches zero? So many questions.

What would this world be like if we all knew our time. Wow, I am having a difficult time imagining that. I am not sure if people would be rushing around knocking each other over in a hurry to get where they are going or do what they are doing because they have to be in a hurry all the time to get as much done as they possibly could.

Or, would they be savoring each and every moment as if it were their last, each conversation, each thought, each breath, each hug, each kiss, each connection with another human being, or with nature, the air, the wind, the rain on their skin, the taste of water in their dry mouth, the taste of food, the sound of music, the birds, the sky, the clouds, and…I could go on for a very long time.

I prefer the second vision. The one of savoring. Each moment would somehow be joyful, as joyful as possible, because really, what else is there but feeling and spreading, love and joy. We feel sadness, loneliness of the world, suffering, so much suffering, and we vow to bring love to those that we can and maybe lessen suffering a little here or there. Uplift someone’s spirits just enough to make them realize there is a reason for living and there is a purpose to existence.

Am I making any sense at all? This all brings tears. Are they of sadness, for all the sadness, loneliness and suffering in the world? Are they for the love that people have the capacity for that could be exuded out into the world if we all put our heads and hearts together before our clocks ran out? I am not sure. Are they just for me? For me to find answers to so many questions or maybe to realize that life is just more about living with the question and not ever really knowing the answers?

Remember when I asked my father when I was I think seven, what is life all about anyway? What does it all mean? And I don’t think I ever really got any answer. It is like the child who keeps asking why. After a while you get tired, and you just say anything, or you say “enough why questions for now, son.” We could have had a very philosophical discussion, and he could have given me his take on it all. Maybe he did not see the ticking clock and know how very much too early his clock would run out.

But, I think he missed a beautiful opportunity. He could have even told me that people for ions of time have been asking that question and it is a verrrrrry good question. It is a good question because it can make us focus on what we do with our time, and how we figure out how the talents and gifts that we have can best be used to offer some goodness, some kindness, some love, some joy to others.

Others who may be suffering or have less than ourselves, or just need a kind word or a kind look or something that we have in our repertoire that we can give to brighten a moment or bring a smile or give them some reason for hope that the next hour or the next day will be a string of better moments than they are currently having. Or maybe it is enough to brighten this very moment.

How often do we think of that unseen clock? Is it not like the elephant in the room sometimes? Always present, but so very rarely talked about.

Can we live, with acknowledgement of the clock? If I often recount either in the morning or at the end of the day, what it is I am grateful for today, can I not also think about, did I do some worthy deeds or actions today? How am I doing on my steering of my ship? Am I staying on course to my destination, am I losing my way, do I need to stay on course, or can my navigational plotting change at any time? Ughhhhh, so many questions.

But I think seeing the clock keeps me a little more honest than not seeing the clock. Paying attention to it will make me repeatedly ask questions. I am a questioner. I may not find the answers very often, but I must still ask of myself and others, am I paying attention? Am I conscious in my day to day life? What do I need to do now, what do I need to get done soon and not keep putting off?

The clock keeps me honest. The clock makes me realize I do not have forever. At least not on this plane of existence and in this human body. The clock makes me want the entire universe in every moment. In each interaction I have with animate or inanimate beings, I want to be authentically me. The clock gives me something to strive for, because I am human and make mistakes, and could always improve my behavior. The clock makes me a conscious human being willing to examine my behavior.

Wow, it is just a clock. Does it really do all that? It does for me.

I really do imagine sometimes, that I see and hear this clock. Sometimes it makes me smile, and sometimes it makes me cry, and sometimes it just makes me laugh and it often makes me want to just be myself as much as I can for as long as I can.


Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.