I dreamed one night that my life was an old alarm clock. You know, the kind you wind up with the big alarm bells on top. It had a huge hour hand, a slow and steady minute hand and that always advancing second hand. I knew instinctively that the old clock had only so many ticks in it. I knew that the second hand moved smoothly, silently and decisively forward to my ultimate end. I knew I could never control that second hand. There was nothing I could do about that. In every way, it’s ever advancing pace was outside of my control. That being said, it did not stop me from moving the other hands. I watched myself laboring against those hands.

First there was the hour hand that I kept on pushing back, to the times I had been hurt. Constantly reliving that pain. As I struggled pushing back that hour hand, I began to realize how pointless those efforts were. Nothing changed. The events remained the same. I could not change the characters of those events or the character of the people within those events. It was pointless in going back and then it occurred to me, the only thing I could change was how I perceived, reacted to and remembered those events. I stopped pushing the hour hand back and let it go… while that second hand continued to move smoothly, silently and decisively forward.

There where other times I saw myself pushing that hour hand forward. Working obsessively hard for that job advancement, that pay raise and that new toy. Sometimes I achieved it and sometimes I did not. My first lesson about long term remorse had been learned, so I no longer looked back. I just thought, well you did not work hard enough. So next time, I pushed harder forward on that hour hand. As I sat back and watched myself, I realized as I pushed harder on that hour hand there were events I was missing. A friend in need, a last birthday party before a loved one moved away and that lunch appointment I never had time for, right before she died. I stopped pushing forward. I stepped back and noticed that time still moved forward all by itself and that second hand continued to move smoothly, silently and decisively forward.

Well, I had learned my lesson the hard way about messing with that hour hand. I decided to leave it alone. Then again, I could move that minute hand. What would be the harm in that? I began to notice my words, my careless actions and my priorities. I did not like what I said to her, but no matter how often I pushed back that minute hand with regret, I could not undo what those words did to her. I could not help how I let him down. I could not undo what I had done. So, I stopped pushing back with regret and began to take note of my actions at the moment, while the second hand continued to move smoothly, silently and decisively forward.

So I sat quietly and watched that second hand and realized that it was moving forward to my demise. That next second might reveal a lost job, unpaid bills or saying goodbye to a loved one. I once again caught myself anxiously pushing hard on that minute hand, to find out my job was safe or sometimes not. Sometimes those events could have been controlled by me and sometimes they were out of my control. Had I spent my time working more and worrying less, I could manage to fix the things I could. Most of the bills got paid and I decided to simplify some of my debts to manage them better. No matter how hard I anxiously pushed that minute hand forward, I had to realize I was only in control of my own actions and sometimes there are things that I could not change. So I stopped pushing forward with anxiousness, while the second hand continued to move smoothly, silently and decisively forward.

So, did this dream really reveal anything to me. It did and here it is. The hour hand is to be left alone. It is not our hand in control. The minute hand reveals how you spend your days. You can choose to be regretful about our past or anxious about our future. Ultimately we can only control what we say and do now and today. Somethings are out of our control. The second hand is always advancing, so be mindful how you manage your clock.

Then it finally made sense. I am to manage today. I am to forget the past and not to worry about my future. I am to be here, present. Once I realized that, the Lord spoke to me. “JR, you will never find me in the past, my name is not I WAS. You will never find me in the future, my name is not I WILL BE. You can only find me when you take your hands off the clock and deal with the present, because my name is I AM.” Hearing him clearly, I looked up and the second hand continued to move smoothly, silently and decisively forward. Without any help from me.

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Alarm Clock