I love words. They are tiny windows from which our Soul shines through. Even the most un-educated among us has choices in words. So how do we choose our words?
It is my belief that our true identity, Soul, directs our mind and tongue to use one word and not the other, when both words would convey the same meaning. In these tiny preferences lie glimpses into our heart, our beliefs, our fears and our hopes.
When we say, winding down instead of relaxing, or wound up instead of tense, our fascination with time shows and perhaps our fear of mortality. We choose these words as reminders to ourselves to be watchful.
“What does all this have to do with wrist watches?” you ask.
In my view, everything.
Wrist watch is a portable timepiece designed to be worn. Its history goes back to shortly after 1500, when Peter Henlein, a locksmith in Nürnberg, Ger., introduced the mainspring as a replacement for weights in driving clocks.
Looking back over the last forty years, I can see how things have sped up and I can imagine how laid back events were over 500 hundred years ago. There weren’t any soccer moms who had to rush from game to game in their SUVs. No 7 AM meetings across town through a hellish traffic that seems to get worse by the minute. No rushed five minute snack breaks to give us the energy boost we need to keep our zone diet. No Hollywood to show the latest Cartier watch or Baume Mercier watch on the shapely wrists of the most beautiful people in the world.
Why then the need for a portable timepiece called watch?
On the surface, we can say Peter Henlein introduced the mainspring as a replacement for weights in driving clocks. According to Britannica, “A mainspring consists of a flat spring steel band stressed in bending or coiling; when the watch, or other spring-driven mechanism, is wound, the curvature of the spring is increased, and energy is thus stored.
In a watch, this energy is transmitted to the oscillating section of the watch (called the balance) by the wheel train and escapement, the motion of the balance itself controlling the release of the escapement and consequently the timing of the maintaining impulse. A friction drive to the hands is provided from a wheel that rotates at a convenient rate, generally one time per hour. The friction drive permits the hands to be set.”
Fascinating enough to put me to sleep, I don’t know about you. The short version is that Peter Henlein found a way to move the clock handles so that they don’t take so much room. He was on the way to help us all watch time fly on our wrist, twenty four hours a day.
This ability to know the exact time brings with it a curse and a blessing.
A curse if we think about all the lost opportunities and all the missed goodbyes. A blessing if we consider that we live and we still hope and dream and with a little self discipline and a lot of help from the Divine, we can use our wrist watch to measure all the hellos we say, all the I love yous and all the contributions we make by just being who we are.
I love the idea that we exist because God loves us. Not particularly because we do wonderful things with every minute of every day, but simply because we are who we are.
Next time you check what time it is, I hope you look beyond the small handle and big handle and the wonderfully expensive watch makers and the rushed pace of life that carries us from one meeting to the next. I hope you can remind yourself that maybe it is time to say thank you to some one for just being there, smile at another because life is precious or pick up the phone and call your mate to just say, “I love you.”
If I ever feel pride in wearing a wrist watch and use its chime, it is for these reasons. How about you? Why are you wearing your watch?
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