"Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go"


Henry Dobson’s pithy line, from his poem the "Paradox of Time" is the inspiration for a monumental statue in Washington Park. This beautiful green beltway is directly connected to the campus of the University of Chicago. The statue features a single figure, “Time,” standing in opposition to over 100 other figures who appear to be walking past his gazing eyes.

Completed in 1920, this statue was made with a specially formulated mixture of concret and pebbles. The harsh winters, the relentless rain, the cycle of freezing and thawing have slowly taken its toll on the fountain. It has required frequent renovations over its nearly 100 years. This reality seems to perfectly fit the theme of the sculpture. The figures tell the story of our lives-birth and love, vocation and celebration, war and peace, youth and age. The tangle of humanity flows like water.

It reminds me of the Arab proverb that they tell tourists in Cairo, 'Man fears time, time fears the Pyramids.’ These huge structures have stood tall in the desert while empire after empire has come and gone. Almost the opposite of the Chicago statue, the pyramids shake off the dust heaping at their feet, not noticing the passage of time.

The first statue calls to the ephemeral nature of life. The second to the eternal. Part of our life comes and goes. Part of our lives remain. I worry that too many people spend too much time on that which does not last-pride, position, opinion. Instead, we should live for love, mercy and Jesus. All the time we spend defending, all the time we spend arguing our position, all the time we spend trying to be right is such a black hole (did you see the first picture this week?)

Every moment I have spent listening, that is like eternity in a bottle. The encounters of heartfelt prayer lift me and transcend space and time. Sharing the loving words of Jesus always puts everything else in greater perspective.  Spend your time wisely.