The Passage of Time

by Ben Howard

One of the weirder phenomena that comes with age is the feeling that time is speeding up. When we’re teenagers, a year can feel like a lifetime, but as we get older, it can feel more like the blink of an eye. Interestingly, this is not just a symptom of wistful remembrances, it’s actually a product of how we record experiences in our memory. Our brains are designed to encode new experiences into memories, but not familiar experiences. When we try to think back on our past, our judgment of time is based heavily on the memories we created during a certain period. When we were younger, almost everything was new. Every idea, every experience, every person we met was someone we were meeting for the first time. It’s why you can vividly remember your first kiss, but probably not your twelfth.

 

When I first read about this, I immediately thought about how it would be possible to use this information to slow time down. We can trick our brains perception of time by learning new things and trying out new experiences. But on a deeper level, it made me recall the beauty and wonder of the things I’ve already experienced for the first time and made me crave the ability to experience those things again.

 

Thankfully, this very thing is something that we are promised in Scripture. In the book of Lamentations, which is rarely where we go in search of solace, the writer says, “Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” (3:22-23). I remember learning that in the KJV where it says God’s mercies are “new every morning.” Our experience of God will never get old, it will never speed up and fall out of memories because our God is infinite and our experience of God is always new, always fresh, and always to be looked back on with joy.

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