In the Absence of Time

In the absence of time, Einstein postulated in a quote I recall only in spirit, everything would happen at once. It was in this turbulent void of happening that I found myself moments ago speaking with a good friend, telling him I just don’t care.

I’ve reached that point, I told him, where I’m overwhelmed and just can’t care anymore. My entire emotional response system has shut down. It happens from time to time. I’ll rest, get things back in order, and start to care again–but that will come tomorrow or the day after, and I’m not looking forward right now, not today.

But are we surprised? Aren’t we all gazing back today?

Back to yesterday, when I finally told our campus organizer I had reached my max–and for a moment I felt free and in control again, but then more work and phone calls overwhelmed me entirely.

As another friend put it a few days before, when towards a crescendo this song was still rising, it’s the story of nonprofits: We’re going to change the world, and we’re going to change it now. Right now.

Back even further, to the first few days of the semester, when all my spring ambitions came to fruition and I found every commitment I had committed myself to–every organization and the people within them–had mislead me from the moment I applied to the moment I was elected.

Job descriptions were changed. Expectations were raised. And the time commitments–those orbs of light that I had so carefully placed before me to illuminate every facet of my life–had now grown so vast and bright they could not shine together.

And we could go further, to the moments before moving on campus when I was packing boxes near hysteria, unable to control the tidal waves of change around me. Or further, to the moments in DC when I was lobbying for the Global Fund, asking for billions of dollars, and felt on top of the world. All the way back to those first encounters at Guilford Tech when I was tugged, so unwillingly at the time, headfirst into leadership.

And then I was talking with a friend last night, amid all this building chaos, all this absent time, and he tells me everything’s tougher tomorrow.

What? I ask.

Tomorrow. The date.

Oh, I said, OH! Today is the tenth, so…

So tomorrow’s today.

And isn’t it true? Everything’s tougher today.

Read my company poem Turbulence.

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