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Spring ahead


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I really don't like this twice-a-year game we play with the clock, especially since we can't seem to settle on what the proper date to play it is. (Didn't we used to do this is April and October?) Of course, we can always blame Ben Franklin. In his time, though, life had a completely different rhythm. It's not like anyone could have flipped the lights on or off.

Evidently the notion that daylight savings was designed to help farmers is a myth: most farmers oppose it. The real purpose it was implemented was to conserve coal during World War II. Energy savings is still the reason we change the clocks. During daylight savings now, there are some reports that we use 0.5 percent less electricity than we do during standard time. Frankly, I'm not sure that's worth the aggravation the whole thing engenders. If I'm going to feel jet lagged, at least I want it to be because I travelled somewhere!

It's amazing how much a one hour time change can affect you. Move the hand on the clock just one notch in either direction, and the whole day (or two or three) afterward feels qualitatively different. Our first alarm is set for 6:00 a.m. The second goes off at 6:15; the third had better not go off. But when we lose that hour of sleep at daylight savings, the probability that I am going to leave my pillow behind at the first -- or even second -- alarm, is less than or equal to zero.

There isn't much I can do when the rest of the country is keeping time an hour later than I'd like. I either have to embrace it, or decide to go to bed when our 12 year old daughters do. The world is the way it is, it isn't going to bend to me. I have to somehow bend to, or make peace with, it.

We all know, of course, that moving the hands on a clock doesn't actually save daylight. The length of the day is controlled by the workings of the solar system, not the conventions governments can impose. But turning toward God, toward grace, toward love, is a free and daily choice made by each human soul. It is one that God omnipotent has placed in our hands.

Whether you "spring ahead" or "fall back," small things can have a disproportionately large effect. The same can be said for the spiritual life. An objectively insignificant shift either toward God or away from him, creates an ever expanding -- or ever-shrinking -- gap over time. When we fall to one temptation, we are more likely to keep falling. When we are able to resist temptation by grace, we grow in grace and in the strength to stand against evil.

As much as I dislike changing the clocks, doing so reminds me that my own internal gears need periodic adjustment as well. Left to my own devices, I'm sure to end up running too slow, or too fast. The truth is I can't keep time alone, no one can. In order for my life to run smoothly, I need to be taken apart now and then, cleaned up, and put back together.

In a few weeks, the sun will rise earlier again and it'll be easier to get up in the morning. Spring will have come in fullness. For now, the promise of spring is one we trust because we have seen it kept before. Likewise, we can trust in the promise of eternal life, of an everlasting day that never ends, because we have seen Christ rising from the dead.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.

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