Time, the Adjuster of Life

By Edna Lister

As one day succeeds another, so does a person pile his acts, one upon another, to form either an inescapable fate or a high destiny. As emotion after emotion flows over his life, or tears along as a raging torrent, it leaves its mark upon the life for the world to see, and seeing, to read.

A person's acts build milestones on life's pathway, all following some definite pattern. Each milestone bears the record of that particular portion of life's journey, from infancy to maturity. If you would know the person, read his life's milestones, whether of joy, or stressful struggles.

Anyone may walk a line of fate in haphazard, uncharted, undirected fashion, and at the end of the line have the pleasure of blaming fate for the ending as our only fulfillment. You may drift with the tides, washing back and forth over the same old lessons, you may float with the current of the River of Life, but your fate will be the same — nothing for nothing. Life will bestow no rewards or laurels if you make no effort, no struggle to gain strength.

You may frown when your plans go wrong. You may curse and grow into a fury when life goes against you, knowing in your heart that even the single-celled creatures share with you and use the same ability.

If you continue to react in such ways about events that are outside your control, the milestones you build along your path of life will grow smaller until they shrink into nothingness. Your life will become ever more circumscribed, until it fades into the silence of "death."

Only a few persons are great enough in soul desire to hold the destiny of nations in their hands, and only another few are great enough to build empires of success. However, they are always those who set aside all cursing and blaming of fate for delay or failure, and move forward on their own paths of destiny to a well charted and self-directed life.

Such persons hew out the path for themselves as they go, conquering all manners of obstacles that life seems to glory in placing before the advance of civilization. These people develop the courage to conquer each succeeding obstacle by conquering the one standing in the middle of their pathway now. They forget how hard the path will be ahead, while they use all their strength to mount the barriers as they come to them.

You would never advance if you could see every obstacle between you and your goal from the very start. Most people would never do anything if they knew exactly how difficult the path was going to be. Courage, confidence in your ability to conquer, and a growing faith is life's reward for each step you take, for each obstacle you overcome along the way of destiny.

The difference between the line of fate and the Path of Destiny is so small at first that you may miss the meaning of the signs pointing the way. With fate, you let life dictate to you, but with destiny you dictate to life. The turning point comes when you step off your fate line onto your Path of Destiny. That instant arrives when you turn from drifting with the current, the easy ways of living, and take on the hard way of struggle, when you turn to the Light and declare that you have become the master of your fate.

One turning point always comes to make you into a conqueror-to-be. If you are afraid to take the chance, afraid to leave your present sheltered place, afraid to move out of your little rut, you doom yourself to end as the plaything of life, a weakling who lives by life's dictation.

It is such a small turning that you never know when you will reach it. It usually comes suddenly, and you may allow it to pass without recognizing it as a milestone. Only on looking backward can you see that you missed deciding at the right time.

Of course, this happens only when you have allowed your vision of life to grow dim, your heart's desires to burn out, and obstacles that fill you with fear and discouragement to block your life's goals.

To drift, taking no action at such a turning point in life, causes a dry rot that continues until you bury your soul under a featherbed of self-pity, and physical decay sets in to limit the body. None of this is noticeable at first. Soul retrogression is subtle and slow, and shows itself only when you must face some situation requiring great strength of heart and mind.

The many struggles to conquer fate toughens your fiber, making you able to defend yourself against any blow of fate. You develop the courage, faith and the wisdom needed to conquer the world with each new gain in conquering the "little me" of self.

When you realize you have missed the turning, you can, with deliberate intent, turn back across the morass, hewing a path through the fallen timbers of your past "good intentions," left scattered carelessly as your life advanced. You reach the place where you did not act in strength, where you were afraid to meet life with enough faith in the future good to come.

From this vantage point you can rebuild your whole life on a new Path of Destiny, where you truly become the master of your fate. You can use all your newly unfolding courage and strength in "right use," and stand and let the winds blow, knowing they cannot blow down your walls again.

After such mental "housecleaning," you know that any struggle and effort you make to conquer obstacles, any blows of fate are well worth the price paid while you rebuild the milestones along your Path of Destiny.

Hour by relentless hour, eternity rolls on in vast cycles of time, through space until the finite mind can scarcely grasp the scope. Reason totters in contemplation of the immensity of time, space and the universe, unknown and uncharted, which new scientific findings always bring you.

Each faces the same relentlessly flowing time. None is free from this subtly grasping thief of life. Prince and pauper alike must contemplate its coming and going. No one can stop time in its passing, no one can bring it back to be used again, no one can open or close time's cycles. Time moves on, fatal second by second, without asking anyone if it may, taking with it life's expression for all alike.

Some savant said that we are always standing upon a single point in time and space that we call the "Now." Therefore, as each hour enters your life, you are standing at a point from which eternity stretches in every direction. This is the only eternity that anyone will ever possess.

You do possess this important moment called "now," as much as you can ever possess anything. "Now" is the only time you dare count on fully.

This new hour, approaching out of the depths of time, comes shining, golden and Light-filled, ready for you to imprint with your life's record of fulfillment. You can fill it with laughter, life, glory and triumph, or turn it into grey clouds, black clouds — even into whirlwinds of doubt, fear, anxiety, despair, or into hate and destruction.

The one pure equality, given every person at birth, is a life of twenty-four beautiful hours each day to fill with living. These hours arise from the future and slide into the past, accumulating your life's record and extending it into eternity. These hours hold the total of your past thinking, your past emotional record of imaginings. The hours faithfully record whatever you have pictured for yourself.

Since everyone has perfect equality in their use of time, you may ask, "Why does one person become a success, while another builds for failure? Why does one live in joy and happiness, while another lives in despair and desperation? Why is one person a tramp, and another a conqueror?"

The answer is not as simple as it seems. Though no one can ever take your hours from you, they sometimes dictate their use to you! It may seem you are forced to do tasks foreign to you, to live in ways you dislike physically, emotionally and mentally. Yet, no one can force you to use your hours wrong emotionally or mentally. It is impossible for anyone to dictate how you think or imagine!

No one can fill your mental, emotional, imaginative hours for you, for you do this for yourself alone. You cannot hire another to fill your hours for you. You must live your inner hours for yourself.

The reason for life's inequalities, depends on how you spent the hour. Once you find the "how," the "why" becomes easy to see. How you spend time will predict your future, and even your end.

The outline you use for each day's hours totals the results of the day. Each hour is a brick you use to build your own future. If you fill them with all kinds of emotional strains and vain imaginings, with worry, doubt, fear and self-pity — or just let them pass by unnoticed, as "easy going" hours unfilled with anything worthwhile — then the past absorbs all their golden, shining light and you send them into eternity as blotches on the face of time.

Doing nothing leaves the hours greyed-out. Doing the wrong thing leaves them blackened and floating around "out there" somewhere waiting for you to fill them with Light.

Each hour you spend must return to you under the law of hours, a great law of life. All misspent hours will haunt you at some future date, when you fully understand this law.

What are you doing this very hour? What are you planning for the next inexorable hour? What do you plan to do with life itself, with your special talents, with your special privileges?

This hour now is your servant, and will go forth to do your bidding, to work your will. How are you sending it out, light or dark? This is your choice, because no forced living or demands from the outside can rob your hours of their gold. Your body could faint from labor, your mind refuse to work from physical exhaustion, yet your heart can sing and your soul can be untouched. No one can recall an hour to live it over, but anyone can accept responsibility for the present "now" and keep it beautiful, while "thinking" Light into the past misspent hours.

Each hour you face, filled with the joy of living, strengthens you for the coming hour, in which your own future is unwritten, untold. Each hour lingers with you for its allotted time and is gone, taking part of you with it to weave into the record you call your past.

Some refute the idea of a future life, or repudiate the idea of having lived on earth before. Each is entitled to believe what pleases him or her most. Yet having a few good credits banked might be better than to chance it and find that you need them. It couldn't do any harm to fill those past hours with hardworking honest effort, with joy and laughter-loving living on which to draw.

Empty hours can never pay you dividends on your time investment, and you can't avoid investing your hours, whether they are overflowing with glory or poorly spent, whether you collect dividends in this lifetime or in some future place. To prepare for a future life is wise, because you dare not declare none exists. Your past hours should be ready if you need them as a passport. Filling your hours with joy is just as satisfying in the here and now.

The hour, as it lingers with you, is all you have. It is your record of life, depending upon how you use this ever-coming, ever-moving, ever-receding, ever-present now. It takes time to live right! It takes time for loving life now! Live in the now and do not allow your future to slip by without having ever lived it. Take each hour's time and live it fully, in a worthwhile way.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Edna Lister originally wrote Time, the Adjuster of Life as a book chapter in 1954. She had intended that it would be published with I AM Joy and Faith, the Challenger. Her students privately published the chapter as a booklet in 1958.

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