It’s March, the month of daylight saving time. When I think about changing all my clocks to “spring forward” I start to make make a lot of comparisons. Daylight saving time literally jumps us ahead in time. So I start to compare where I was with where I am now. And if I really want to make myself crazy, I start to compare where I am with where I want to be in life, or where I think I should be in life. Comparisons like this can drive me crazy. But I’m learning how to take the crazy out of comparisons starting with understanding what the word COMPARE actually means!
In the past I’ve used the word compare to point out differences. And in no time at all I go down a path of judging if something is better or worse. I start to compare families, like “How does my family compare to yours?” “How does chocolate taste compared to vanilla?” (Better!) Well you know what? The word compare does not mean to look for differences. It means to see similarities. The C-O-M in compare means “with.” So asking “How do our families compare to each other?” is really asking “What do our families have in common with each other?”
If you want to point out differences try using the word CONTRAST. We contrast things when we are looking for differences. Hence the expression, “compare and contrast.”
Why does this matter to me? Well, like I said, I’ve become very aware of how I am constantly comparing things and looking for differences. And I’m getting kind of tired of it. I want to reestablish the habit of seeing what God gave us in common with each other. From the minute we’re born we are pronounced as early or late and big or small. That’s as it should be. But soon we begin to constantly compare and contrast ourselves to each other: our careers, relationships, finances, politics, ethics, and religious morals. And then we make the harshest comparison of all between who we are compared to the person we think we should be. Now, don’t get me wrong sometimes looking to others is motivating and helpful. But other times it’s just really punishing.
So, what does this have to do with clocks and daylight saving time? Our clocks are constantly beeping and chirping on phones, tablets, and watches, making us look, and rethink where we are, versus where we think we should be. Clocks are so bossy. They’re supposed to be impartial judges of time. But we give them a lot of power. Clocks never say, “You’re right where you’re suppose to be.” They say, “You’re early. You’re late.” They never say, “I’ll wait for you!”
I think that the faces of people are like the faces of clocks. We look to the faces of people to see if we are where we think we should be. We imagine them saying, “You’re not where you’re suppose to be.”
This morning I saw a friend’s morning post on social media. She looked fabulous, had finished her “Peloton” ride, and was already pressing “send” on her emails. I was in my pajamas with bed head and waiting for my coffee to brew. My knee-jerk reaction was to feel discouraged and behind. Then it hit me. She lives hours ahead of me in another time zone!
When I think about changing my clocks I try to remember that we all live in different time zones. Not just physical time zones, but emotional and spiritual times zones as well. We go through life differently. Instead of feeling bad because I’m not where I think I should be, I’m starting to use the word, compare, to also see what we have in common with each other, too.
When I compare my morning to my friend’s, I know that even though we start our days at different times, we both start by trying to live as the best version of who God created us to be. Now that’s a good comparison.
So when you change your clocks this year and every year to come, try using the word compare differently. This year hit the “pause button” when you jump ahead. Reflect that even as things move forward there are some things that stay the same. Like the way we are meant to go through life according to our timing and God’s timing.