When I was in elementary school, today and tomorrow were the worst days of the year. Even the first day of school had some anticipation to it, and even going back to school after Christmas vacation wasn’t terrible, but the cursed Daylight Savings Time meant only pain and sleepiness for a few days. On the Sunday, it meant losing an hour to get to Sunday School and trying not to fall asleep in church, but that moment on Monday morning, when Mom would have to wake us up to get ready for school, because getting up at 7:00, which was the normal time, was really getting up at 6:00, which no one should ever have to get up at…
Perhaps my worst daylight savings time experience came when I just made a horrible miscalculation. It was around 2008, when I was invited to preach the morning services in Yankton, South Dakota. We were living in Mitchell at that time, and it was about a 90 minute or so drive. I said yes, and then began to realize that I had to be in Yankton by about 7:30am for the 8am worship. That meant I was going to have to leave at 6am, and drive through the dark countryside to get there on time. That meant getting up at 5am, knowing that I would be in the spotlight until after their potluck was over around one pm or so. I girded my loins, and still agreed to do so. Looking back, I should have driven down on Saturday, gotten a hotel room, and just got up at the normal time, but no…
A few days before the event, however, as I looked at my calendar, I came to the realization that I had not seen daylight savings time that very Sunday when I said yes. That meant all those time calculations had to add in the “lose an hour, stupid” factor, so being in Yankton by 7:30 was really 6:30, which meant leaving at 6 really meant 5am, so that I had to get up when my body was saying it was 4am. In the morning. In the dark. It was truly horrible. I made it there, but I was hurting for sure.
Then I realized that the next day, on Monday, I had also schedule a meeting up at our church camp retreat center, a good two hours away – at 8am. That also meant leaving at 6, which felt like 5, which meant…. Well, you get it. Never again have I made a schedule date in March or April without checking first to see if the cursed day of daylight was kicking in.
I really don’t like the time change at all. If I truly believed it would help the farmers and make their lives easier, that would be different, but I married into a farm family – did you know they actually have those fancy electric lights on farms now? And there are lights on tractors and trucks and all sorts of machinery nowadays – that’s only been in effect for 100 years or so. Daylight savings time in the US first started in WW1 in 1918 to help the energy needs in factories for some reason, and it was ended in 1919. Then, in 1942, in WW2. FDR once again instituted it, and then it was later enacted with legislation to make it ongoing, so every year we go through these temporal gymnastics, and no one really has a good reason. It doesn’t truly save energy, and especially in the northern part of the country, it throws us back into dark mornings for nearly another month. The same issue comes up in November, when we fortunately get to sleep in an hour, but then lose the light at the end of the day. Also, if you have a baby in house, you are doomed, when that daylight day comes around, or leaves again, because babies don’t wear wrist watches, and are governed only by wet diapers and hungry bellies.
I could also say the same for our four-legged babies. Cats apparently DO wear hidden watches, because they are merciless when it comes to having to wake their owners, since they believe, again, it is time for them to get up, and to feed the pets.
Every year around this time, one or two senators raise the issue of either cancelling daylight savings time completely, or making it the new standard time year round, and let people not have to go through the trauma of losing and gaining and what not. I for one would rather it just stay at the standard time – otherwise, in the deep winter months up here, the sun would not rise until close to 9am, which is really a horrible thing to put people through. If you want to live in Alaska, where they have months of no sun, then feel free, but here in the lower 48, we shouldn’t have to imitate that, because of a clock.
One thing I have discovered, however, about being retired: the change of the clocks doesn’t matter anymore. I wake up when I wake up, and go to bed when I am tired. I don’t have to schedule early morning “stuff,” so I can wake up slowly, and slowly move into a day of activity. I must say – that’s a nice way to live. And if I can intentionally ignore the effects of changing the clock’s hours back and forth, then I consider that a victory.
But whatever time it is, I hope you will take the time to say thanks to God for another day of life, and to be alive to enjoy what is the coming of spring, and the movement through Lent to a great resurrection day, only three weeks from now!
Thought for the day: Making someone else important is your biggest ability. Meir Ezra. For most humans, our lives are spent working as hard as we can to make ourselves important, and important to our world, either by leadership or by other means of measuring importance. I don’t know Mr. Ezra, but his statement completely turns around most of our ambitions. If the greatest ability we can express is to work to make someone else important in their lives somehow, then what an amazing and subtly significant way of life we will live.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.