Dear Gracie… What Is Up with Time?

When we are struggling it goes so slow, and when we want more of it, it vanishes.

Sarah Condon / 6.7.22

This is an excerpt from the advice column in the latest issue of The Mockingbird magazine. For more, order your copy here!

Dear Gracie,

How are we supposed to be able to deal with time? When we are struggling it goes so slow, and when we want more of it, it vanishes.



Dear Grownup,

I wish I knew.

There are mornings when I wake up with a dread for everything the day might hold: meetings, laundry, showering, climate change reports, political angst, etc. I just want the day to be over already. I worry that we are all so isolated within the confines of our tiny screens and our rattling brains that time feels like it is zooming past in a very fixed way. I hope that makes sense. Lexapro has helped this some.

But since I am far from a psychiatrist, I would also tell you that being with people has been the most helpful cure for the ache of time. When I manage to hurtle myself into the world or raise my half-moon neck from the glow of a screen, I am met with a face. Perhaps it’s the face of one of the college students I minister to, or my husband, or the face of one of our children. And I think to myself, “Oh, there you are. Here we are together. What a fleeting gift this moment is.”

When I was in seminary, people talked about the “communion of saints” as being the dead people in our lives who surround us, most especially in church at the altar when the priest invokes the Holy Spirit to bless the wine and the bread. As a woman with Southern Baptist roots, I thought this was incredibly creepy. Who were these dead people who would just show up for church? And could somebody tell them not to? But not long after I lost my parents, I was standing behind the altar during the Act of Consecration, and my parents felt so near to me I could touch them. It was beautiful and jarring, and I hope to never forget it. In that moment, God had somehow suspended time.

And so isn’t it all just incredibly out of our hands? And perhaps there is comfort there, too?

Look for faces,



Subscribe to The Mockingbird here!

Illustration by Ollie Silvester. Featured image by Malvestida/Unsplash.


One response to “Dear Gracie… What Is Up with Time?”

  1. Pierre says:

    Such good counsel! The moments when I’m most anxious about time are when I’m sitting around alone, but when I’m with friends, it all just melts away…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.