On Being Foundations 3 – Taking a Long View of Time and Becoming “Critical Yeast”

Time is such a weird critter.  It felt like time went so slowly when I sat in classrooms in elementary school and then summer felt like it went by in a blink of an eye.  It doesn’t feel that long ago that my wife and I said “I do” to each other and now it is over 20 years later, two kids are in college, and a third is not far off.  And then there’s my current position – how has it been over four years?  I have read some different things about time and why we experience it differently at different times, but the reality is that time is not as fixed as we think that it is.  

The third foundation from OnBeing talked about “taking a long view of time and becoming ‘critical yeast.”  I’m not going to focus much on the 2nd part of that but instead the first.  Take a listen to the podcast for more on the yeast part of the foundation.  

But the long view of time…It feels cliche to say but we live in a “want it now” culture.  Our devices get faster with each new product refresh, we want to binge shows rather than wait for them week-by-week, and the list goes on.  And the problems that we face in the world…we want them fixed yesterday.  And yet, the process of deep change takes time.  It is the slow work of water on rough stones until they become smooth.  In the podcast, Ms Tippett refers to a journalist named Gal Beckerman who “looked back at history and also in more recent history, and named the fact that what we see as big events — as ruptures, as revolutions, as progress — these things always had what he called a long ‘quiet before’ of decades or of centuries where that change was fermenting.”  I love the idea of fermenting – the slow process of something changing from one form to another.  And it takes time.  

As she closes the podcast, she said, “I experience the young among us to be teachers. I experience them to somehow know that time is long and know that what we’ve been walking into, what we now see, un-unseeable, before us, we have been walking into for generations, and walking out of this is going to happen in generational time, too.”   


Nine years ago this month, I had an experience in North Carolina that forever changed me.  But the changes did not happen at that immediate moment but instead the fermenting began in me.  The changes came bit by bit.  And as the little changes collected together to be seen in larger transformations until I look back and cannot believe how much has changed since that day.  Interestingly , I purchased a wall piece while I was there for my office with words attributed (likely not correctly) to C.S. Lewis…

Isn’t it funny how day by day it seems nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.  

The long view of time.  

So, keep working for change in you and in the world.  Keep working even when it feels nothing is happening or that we are going backward.  But keep working and keep the long view of time.  

PS – Small reminder…my Advent devotional is now available! Take a look at this post for more information about it!

Categories: TimeTags: , , , , , , ,

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