Daylight saving time: No hours added


By The Rev. Jeremy Myers

Sunday, March 14 represents one of my least favorite days of the year.

I have no issue with that particular day of the year during most calendar years, but this year, it has the inauspicious and ignominious task of serving as the day we begin daylight saving time here in the US of A. In my humble opinion, it is the single most annoying and inconvenient practice in American culture. But like it or not, the time is upon us.

It is often said Benjamin Franklin was the first to come up with daylight saving time. This is actually untrue. While Benjamin did believe in optimizing one’s use of the daylight that was available, he did not propose our current practice. As it turns out, Disney lied to us once again, via the movie “National Treasure,” and I’ve been annually cursing Ben Franklin’s name for no good reason.

The real villain in our yearly time heist is one George Hudson of New Zealand. He was an insect lover who had to work a day job. He proposed the one-hour shift in the spring to make more daylight hours available to him in the evenings to chase creepy crawlies.

Another man, one William Willet, is said to have come up with the same idea about two decades later. He wanted to make the shift in order to keep from having to cut his evening golf games short.

Ultimately, both of these ideas were unconvincing, and daylight saving failed to gain traction, but the principle behind the practice endured and ultimately gained traction during World War I and World War II and finally became both ubiquitous and permanent during the energy crisis of the 1970s.

While I understand the principles behind daylight saving time and will begrudgingly admit there is some logic behind the practice, I do not like it at all. No one is fooled by this act of Chrono-Communism. Daylight savings doesn’t “save” a single hour of surplus time for us to spend at our discretion. It just steals one hour of sleep from us in the spring and moves it to the fall.

In truth, however, many more hours are “lost” or made less livable as we try to adjust to the new rhythms and patterns of life. Daylight saving does little more than upset the delicate ecosystem of our daily lives and leaves all of us feeling like we’ve lost some sleep every spring.

All that stated, do the numbers on the clock really matter in the end? Sure, they are helpful for measuring time and creating a system by which to order our lives, but no manner of manipulation of when what hour takes place does anything to either lengthen or shorten our lives.

As Jesus asked in the Sermon on the Mount, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” The answer to that question is a resounding no. We can’t add a single hour to our lives, nor can we save some for later. We either use them while they’re passing or we lose them once they’ve passed.

Daylight saving time ever so slightly, if not extremely annoyingly, adjusts the temporal location of when we do what we do. That’s what really matters, though, not the whens of our lives, but the whats.

People often say, “Let go and let God.” The phrase has some merit, even if it is incredibly trite and cliché, particularly when trying to deal with the anxieties and difficulties of life. It’s a little too passive, though, in my personal opinion.

We should absolutely trust God to do what only he can do, but at the same time, we must keep grinding and do what we can do while we can do it. We can’t slow time down or speed it up to fit our preferences. But we also shouldn’t sit back and just hope something happens as it passes.

We must make the most of every hour and every opportunity. We can’t control the flow of time, but we can orient ourselves in the direction of a desired outcome and put our noses to the proverbial grindstone in effort to do our part to make something worthwhile with the limited hours we have at our disposal.

Daylight saving time may not provide us with any extra hours, but it can serve as a reminder to use the hours we have.

And remember to adjust your clocks on Saturday night. I’d hate for you to be late to church on Sunday.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

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