The Lens of Time

the lens of timeIt has been said that time heals all wounds. Unfortunately that simply is not true. This Monday I made an unscheduled stop at the place where I grew up – in the shadow of the Sears Tower (yes, it will always be the Sears Tower to me). My simple post to Facebook – just three words – read, “So many memories.” What ensued was remarkable in some ways and sad in others. Bethel Baptist Church and Schaumburg Christian School were and are not perfect places. They were however, the places that I made lasting friendships. Friendships that have passed the test of time.

And there’s that word again… time. So if time does not heal all wounds, what is its potential value? I think it better to see time as a lens. As we look through the lens of time we are able to see things more clearly. Function and dysfunction. Good and evil. Joy and pain. Events may not be healed with time, but they can be understood. And, hopefully, made right.

In my professional life I have been blessed to help people. I have seen two common trends: one, people tend to view the pain of others as less than it really is; and two, people tend to see their own pain as greater than it really is. Whichever “side” of that you may fall on, it would greatly help the discussion move forward if you could lean into those two trends a bit.

How exactly does the lens of time work? We may come to different conclusions about things or events, but I think all of us have benefitted more or less in these kinds of ways:

  1. time gives perspective – I remember the first time I returned to my childhood street in Hoffman Estates. I had been gone several years and now had kids of my own. I could not believe how short the street had become and how the slope of the street had diminished. Of course, neither of those things were true. Only my perspective had changed.
  2. time brings maturity – I acknowledge that age and maturity are not synonymous. That said, most of us move through our youthful experiences and understand that things done/said in immaturity are just that. I guess that’s perspective, too.
  3. time allows for forgiveness – Even our judicial system gets this. Whether we always think it fair or not, certain crimes have statutes of limitations. Perhaps so should we.

In saying all of this I am NOT saying that things spoken or done do not matter… they do. I’m just trying to open the door for civil discussion by saying that time should help us see Bethel and SCS as they really were – flawed places that did some things wrong and some things well. May we all see more clearly as we look through the lens of time. PS: I don’t think it means that all of us must see everything the same way.

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