Eye Opening

Brother 1:  “What did the man say when the clock struck thirteen?”
Brother 2: “I don’t know.  What did he say?”
Brother 1:  “‘I’ve got to get up!  It’s  later than it’s ever been before!'”


I sat this evening in my easy chair.  Ah, sweet peace!

Leaning the recliner back toward the wall, my eyes closed of their own accord, just like one of those dolls with the weighted eyelids.  My busy day had gotten the best of me and a nap seemed appropriate.  Okay–at that moment appropriate had nothing to do with it.  I fell asleep without even thinking about the implications at all.

We have four striking clocks in the house, all of which are audible from that easy chair.  I’ve never been able to synchronize them to strike at the same time. 

The sound as they announce the hour, one after another and intermingled with each other, is enough to wake the dead.

Perhaps that’s a bad metaphor, but it’ll do for this situation.

If lying down was reminiscent of the action of those doll’s eyes, waking was that also.  In reverse.  As I jerked up from my reclining position, the clocks tolling the hour, my eyes flew open. 

I had things to do!  What was I doing, sleeping away the evening?

It’s late!  I’ve got to get busy!

The clocks didn’t strike thirteen, although a stranger in the house might be excused for thinking it was more times than that. The cacophony when they all get in on the act is a little unsettling.

You know, the man with the defective clock was right.

It is later than it’s ever been.

If that seems a Captain Obvious type statement, I apologize.  For some reason, I’m always the last one to become aware of the conspicuous facts.

You see, I’ve never been fifty-eight before, an age I’ll attain later this month.  I’ve never been married for thirty-six years before.  It’s never been 2015 before. 

It’s later than it’s ever been.

Oh, I’ve heard the warnings.  All about us, people are shouting that the sky is falling.  They are scurrying about blaming others, buying guns, and storing up emergency rations to be sure they survive the disasters, both natural and man-made, which are coming.

I will admit to my ignorance.

I will also admit to my lack of interest. 

Please don’t misunderstand.  I don’t deny that there is change coming–perhaps soon.  I just don’t believe that it makes one iota of difference in our mission.  And what I see from many who believe the change is upon us is anger, and confusion, and selfishness.

But, the One we follow–those of us who claim to be Christians–the One we follow has given us our instructions long ago.

Love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for another.

And, just in case we misunderstood and thought that it was only those who believe as we do whom we  are called to love, God reminded us that it was while we were still His enemies that His Son came for us. To die.

Not friends.  Enemies.

The cacophony of the voices I hear raised in cursing–yes, cursing–at the world (and those raised in return) is not unlike the clanging of those clocks, reminding us that it is late.

Not too late, I hope.  Later than it’s ever been, without doubt, but not too late.

Are you frightened?  Upset by recent events?  Disappointed with people and situations?  Me, too.  It gives us no excuse.  None of us.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year, for that matter.  The government and the courts may turn on us.  Our accustomed way of life may vanish from the face of the earth.  It changes nothing. 


We love.  Perhaps enough to die, but we love.

Because He first loved us.

It’s later than it’s ever been.

My eyes are open now. 





This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 ~ NIV)


Q: What time is it when the clock strikes thirteen?
A: Time to get a new clock!




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *