Time… I seem to never have any of it anymore, which is in stark contrast to my perception of it before we lost Rees. It used to be that I felt I always had all the time in the world ahead of me. As a result, I never really worried at all about it. Now I find myself constantly worried about time. It seems there are timers on just about everything I find myself doing lately. Countdown’s to fundraisers, meetings with different people interested in learning more about what we do, calling back this person – or emailing another – I find there simply just is not enough time anymore.
In many ways I now have 3 full time jobs: #1 (always will be) – Being a Dad for my little girls and the future baby Specht, as well as a loving husband. #2 – 8th grade science teacher. #3 – Co-founder and President of the ReesSpecht Life Foundation. All three of these jobs demand a focus to do them well, and with three of them the only thing I can sacrifice to keep that focus is time. Almost everyone with whom I speak nowadays asks me how do I find the time? My answer is very simple: I don’t sleep as much and I really don’t take much time for myself. The problem is that even with those sacrifices I find I cannot keep the focus on all three – there simply isn’t enough time. The end result is that at any given time, one or two of the three, suffers at the expense of the other. There simply is not enough time.
The reality of my busy life (and everyone else’s for that matter) is that it seems the busier we are the faster time seems to move. Time is not constant. According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity time moves slower for objects in motion relative to an object at rest, or moving slower. Very simply put: The faster you move, the slower time moves for you relative to everyone else moving slower than you. If I am driving in my car at 80 miles per hour past you sitting on a bench watching me zoom past, time is travelling just a micro-fraction of second slower for me than it is for you. Basically, if you want to slow down time, you need to move faster! This brings me to the paradox I find myself living in today; it seems the faster I find myself moving in the past few months, the FASTER time is travelling. I cannot keep up. The more I do – the greater my expenditure of energy – the faster I move from one thing to another – the quicker I find my future becoming my present. With all due respect to Einstein, I think he got it wrong: When it comes to people, time does not play fair. All I want is a fair fight with time, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get it to bend to my wishes.
There isn’t a night that goes by where I don’t wish that it would all go away and that Rees would just be a room away and my life would be the way it was. Ironically, that very thinking reminds me about the perspective I gained from this whole experience that has proven so invaluable in my life since his passing. The present finds me stuck in time; faced with the guilt of something that happened which I can never change and the sadness that will follow me forward with every tick of the clock. It is in these moments, in the everlasting present, that I wish I could have the perspective that I have now without the tremendous price I paid to obtain it and the immeasurable buyer’s remorse it leaves me with. The paradox that precludes my possession of both vexes me and gnaws at my soul. In the reality of the present I am reminded that the past is etched forever in stone and the future is a void that does not exist beyond the present.
The only time we ever truly have is the time we have right now, in the very instant we are living it. Every moment before and after is completely out of our hands. In many ways this makes time the ultimate enemy because it can only be experienced in the present – its very nature ensuring we cannot undo what was and we cannot guarantee what will be. The present finds us shaped by the time we no longer have and the future does not exist for us to mold into exactly what we want it to be. You cannot fight its unyielding march towards the future no matter how hard you try. Time is the sand that slips through our fingers the harder we try to contain it.
I need to stop trying to contain it. I need to let it go (cue Idina Menzel). They say that time is like a river, always flowing in one direction. I need to stop trying to damn the river and just ride it out. A friend of mine, John Passaro (an amazing writer by the way – you should check out his work here) put it so perfectly:
“In some aspects losing a child is like a wall, but instead of getting over it, you must carry the wall with you, wherever you go, for as long as you live. The wall is immovable. You can’t go anywhere until you learn to move the wall. You are just stuck in the same place, forever. You can tug and tug all you want, there are days that the wall will not move. And there are days that it moves ever so slightly. Over time I have realized that in order to move forward, knowing that I must bring this wall with me, that the best way to do so is to metaphorically flood the soil near the wall with water, and have the wall float with me, instead of me having to carry it. Every act of love and kindness turns to water. Water and love can penetrate and move anything. It just takes time. I need to turn my wall into a raft.”
Excerpt From: “Again”
I need to take that raft down the river and let it take me where it is going to go – and stop worrying about the destination. The river is going to carry me, and the raft I packed with the lessons of past, into the future. The future is not set. I can set the course in the direction I wish to go and just hope that things work out for the best. Just as I know I cannot alter the flow of a mighty river, I know I cannot alter time – but John is right: Love and Kindness are the water that make up that river. I may not be able to go back upstream, but the kindness we are cultivating is ensuring that the river I am floating on will continue to flow and expand. I now realize that the hectic pace of my current life is nothing more than the white water of the rapids formed from the kindness we are spreading in Rees’ name. From now on, I will not look at time as my enemy. Instead, I will see it for it is: The constant companion that follows me downstream. It’s my silent partner in the journey and I just need to ensure that I stop and appreciate every once in a while. It’s not the destination that is important: It’s the journey.
The past is passed and the future is unknown: All we have is the present – make the best of it for it is a gift <3 ReesSpecht Life.