Tonight I had a fellow acquaintance of mine ask me what I thought he should get for his wife for their 39th Anniversary. He was perplexed, she
seemingly had everything.
In a moment, I answered. He was a bit stunned I had answered so fast with something he had never thought of. He wanted to know more. He wanted to
understand why I had said what I did.
You see, with each day comes a new set of circumstances, I explained. With each hour defines a new day. With each minute we know not what the next
hour will bring, only that we exist in that moment. And, that moment is important. That moment is a memorial to a time we will never get back. In
the next moment things will be different. In our lives those moments all march on, endlessly, until one day they don’t.
These are the winds of change.
The rock band, Scorpions, lamented about the winds of change in a hit song back in the early 90’s. It was a ballad about changing times at the end
of the Cold War and the collapse of what was then the Soviet Union. But the notion of wind of change had featured prominently in many works before
then. In fact, it was a statement more about the passing of time, more so than anything else. It was about how the moment now may be very different
from the moment which follows. And so it goes.
Centuries have passed where people have tried to predict the future, few of them successful, and those who were just happened on luck. No, all we can
know is right now, in this moment, and the time which has passed behind us. The underscore here is why this moment is so vitally important; we will
never get this moment back again.
Tomorrow will be different from today, just as today was different from yesterday. Our lives are enriched by these differences, because if not for
them life would be filled with mind numbing boredom and despair. All the more important to take stock of the moment, this moment, right now.
Once I stood on a train platform in Interlochen, Switzerland. I was alone but for one other man who stood, seemingly happily waiting for the train.
I asked him how long before the train arrived, and he sharply pulled out a pocket watch from his pocket and told me the train would arrive in 7
minutes. Exactly. The Swiss pride themselves in these things, everything works like clockwork. In that moment, the man knew everything around him.
The train would arrive in 7 minutes. Exactly.
Something struck me in that moment. It wasn’t that a train would arrive in less than ten minutes, but rather that the man understood exactly the
moment he existed in. It was clear every moment of his life was defined. In some respects this exacting definition of time seemed tedious; was every
day this way for him? At the same time there was a beauty of it all. At some point in his day he would go stand by the lake and enjoy the sights,
sounds and smells, but only for exactly 30 minutes, after which he would move on to his next task. He had the benefit of knowing he would spend
another 30 minutes tomorrow, maybe at the lake, or maybe in the mountains, doing the same thing.
The revelation of that moment on the train platform was life changing. The only way that man could have known exactly where he was in life was to
have an acute understanding of what moment he existed in at any given point in time…and this he knew with exquisite accuracy. And even though he
knew exactly what moment he existed in, he didn’t know what the next moment would hold.
By my calculations the train was about two minutes late, which was very upsetting to the man, to the extent he made a point of telling the conductor
they were late and he was not pleased. Interestingly, our destination that day was a very special place. The train would take us through Jungfrau
and Grindenwald and the famed Jungfrau cog railway which climbs to the top of the Swiss Alps. From there you could look down on the infamous Eiger
and many others. I don’t know what the man’s business was, but clearly it was very important business indeed. Once we had boarded the train I
never saw him again, but his stature had left a mark on me.
Knowing where we are in life is a very important thing. Not just casually, but exactly. This exact moment is important…because 7 minutes from this
moment the train will arrive (or maybe it won’t).
The point is, not knowing where we are in life, and being able to fully appreciate the moment we are in only diminishes our lives. Had a disheveled
and rushed man shown up on the train platform that day, things would have been different, but that wasn’t the case.
So what would you imagine the gift was that I recommended for my friend to give his wife on their 39th Anniversary? Of course it was a quality
timepiece, a watch. (a Tag Heurer similar to the one I bought for my wife a couple years previous).
Tomorrow will always be different from today, but today we can never get back. Knowing exactly where we are in the moment only helps us more
appreciate the…wind of change…in our lives.
edit on 11/12/2020 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)