Saturday, December 11, 2010

Albert's Perspective

I really don't have time for blogging this week. In fact, I've hardly had time to read other blogs this past week. It seems that during the month of December, time accelerates. One time our fuzzy-haired friend Albert Einstein made it a point to screw up everything I thought I knew about time. He indicated that time is all about perspective....that is, it all depends on where you are. He even mockingly said something like, 'If you are kissing a girl, time rushes by in a whirl. But if you are doing something that you don't like to do, like ironing, time drags by.' I don't think those were his exact words but it was something like that. But then Dr. Einstein started showing off with equations and stuff to point out that if I were traveling a zillion miles per hour, I would be dumb and happy but if I were to pay attention to others I would see that their time was flying by. I guess that is another way of saying my time would slow but from my perspective your time would speed up.

I think he was trying to explain December. My time has sped up dramatically so that means that something is whipping around real fast....and that can only mean that Santa Claus is making trial runs out there with his sled and speedy reindeer. I've heard that there are more heart attacks, more depression, and more suicides in the month of December. Now some of you will probably spout psych-babble about 'failed expectations' and inability to cope' as the cause. Not true. Start watching the sky at night. You will see flashes of light. Of course, there are science geeks that will pontificate about an approaching meteor shower. That's because they don't want to admit the truth. Those flashes zipping across the sky are Santa Clause setting his cruise control at a quadrillion miles per hour in a test run. As far as he is concerned, time is tick-tocking along at a calm measured pace. But when he looks down at us he will see that we are in a frenzy....all because of his joy ride. Our time is flashing by.

Don't believe me. Ha! Einstein said so....more or less....probably less....but what else can explain the fact that I don't have time to do anything?

There is an alternate theory -- time rushes when you are preparing for Christmas for seventeen people in an extended family that refuses to entertain the notion of 'drawing for gifts' or 'forget presents, it's the spirit that counts'. And then there is the job, and those fools expect you to work and work hard because it is the year end and budget status has to be ascertained and reports has to be issued and they refuse to understand that we have a seventeen person Christmas so they need to cool it.

But Dr. Albert always emphasized one thing. It is all a matter of perspective.

There are so many people that ache in their heart for a chance of a seventeen person Christmas. For them, time oozes very slow -- it is if their soul is an anchor that drags and prevents them from moving forward. So I guess I need to just stop. Think. Acknowledge. Understand how incredibly lucky I am. And be extra kind and generous to others that can't share my luck.

One year I spent Christmas alone. I was in a new town in a new little apartment and away from home due to an emergency work assignment. I found a little Christmas tree and string of lights. My ornaments were things from around the apartment....toilet paper strung around the tree....a nail clipper and spoon and a comb hanging as presents, so I put an iron and a salt shaker under the tree. I spent that Christmas Eve staring at the tree. Thinking. Reflecting. Not understanding why I was there. And lonely. In my heart I knew that I had a home and a loving family many miles away, but at that moment...I just stared at the tree.

Two weeks later I was able to return home and share a belated Christmas. But on the Eve of the real Christmas, I just stared at the tree.

So at this moment I am stopping. Reflecting. We will have a big Christmas with too much food and people chattering and all the organizational planning falling to the wayside and a lot of laughing and wrapping paper knee deep on the floor and grand kids beside themselves with excitement and when it is all over collapsing in a stupor. But somehow it is important, right now, to remember that little tree decorated with toilet paper.


This is one of those throw away blog entries without much aforethought or beforethough and whipped together at the speed of Santa Claus flashing by. I apologize for technical and detailed Time Dilation discussions...and it's okay if you don't even read this. Well -- it is too late to say that, I guess.

But I hope your Christmas tree is a little bit bigger and shinier and surrounded by loving friends and family.


  1. Seriously, you crack me up!! For someone who doesn't have time to blog, you sure write a lot! You must be an extra speedy writer. I'm glad you took the time :) "And then there is the job, and those fools expect you to work and work hard because it is the year end ..." Love it!

    Good reflection though, it is so healthy to get a dose of perspective. I find myself doing a lot of reminding these days - reminding myself that while it is good to have goals and expectations, it is also good to remember how good I have it right now. How blessed I am. Hope you have a very merry Christmas!

  2. I am also experiencing time whipping by so very fast - December does seem to be the fastest month of the year, doesn't it?

    Thanks for taking the time to write this - because I needed to be reminded to stop and enjoy; especially today. We are having family in for a quick couple of hours - and I was feeling grouchy about it because I have so much to do and I was resenting the few hours I'd have to "visit".

  3. I, too, spent one of those lonely Christmases many years ago, Jerry. But the Chinese food is great!

  4. Definitely NOT a throw away post! Beautifully written and inspiring as always. It has certainly made me re-think and stop moaning, which I have to say had become my favourite past time.
    And regarding Santa: As I can't look up to see him in the sky without getting blitzed by snow- will you signal to remind him that I've been good(ish)and as we've no chimney- the back door key is under the big gnome?

  5. Your alone-on-Christmas little tree sounds very lovely in its own right. I find it rather fascinating that you decided to go to the effort to create it - and I'm quite in love with the mental image. Even more lovely that this year you have seventeen-person Christmas to look forward to for contrast. Have a happy Christmas, Jerry, and warm thoughts to you and your loved ones.

  6. A "throw away post"????? Hardly, Jerry.... it's a beautiful slice of life. I'm going to hang a spoon from my tree this year (thanks for the idea of what to do with the made-from-shell-tiny-spoon my friend thought I'd like as a gift this year...oy)and I will reflect and think and remember as I am surrounded by those I love and who, for the most part, love me back :)

    Thanks for a new tradition. I do love the blogosphere... and Gently Said,especially. Enjoy your wrapping paper and giggles!

  7. Nice reflection Jerry, I hope your Christmas is even better than you expect and the joy of the house filled with family and knee deep wrapping paper offsets that one year with the toilet paper wrapped tree.

    Thanks for bringing it all into perspective my Friend.

    Merry Christmas

  8. I used to find teaching in December to be a bit hairy as they say or used to say. There were too many things to do and wrap up in addition to the Christmas season going on outside the classroom.

    One year, we had to celebrate Christmas a day or two late, and it just didn't feel right.

  9. My discovery is that time accelerates once you retire. There is no longer enough time during the day to get something done and somewhere someone removes a whole day from your week. I am actually looking forward to Daylight Savings time.

  10. I'm with Robert, Einstein didn't put retirement into the equation.

    The rest of your post got me to wellin' up due to a Christmas long ago when a friend and I had to decorate a rubber tree.. we just put lights on it and sat around having a pity party of two. The toilet paper surely would have made a more festive difference :}

  11. definately not a "throw away" post.. A line from a Billy Joe Shaver tune comes to my mind. ---" I've had my share of mine". I feel fortunate.

  12. I don't think I'll be throwing it away!

    As a very poor kid, I hated Christmas as it always led to sadness. As an adult, I enjoy it, but only because it allows our family to have a couple of nice get togethers. Having said that I'm not fooled into thinking that the entire Christmas season is based on anything other than businesses of a thousand types getting their hands into our pockets...

  13. My Christmases have bee so varied that I've never been disappointed. I've experienced many different versions because cultures vary. Each has brought it's own unique special feeling of joy. I believe that's because we carry the spirit in our heart and it's always with us. The glitter and gifts are just the make up. The foundation is inside not outside. Tradition helps us to remember that it's there. My perspective.