My husband and I recently went to Detroit, and toured a powerful art installation called The Heidelberg Project.
In 1967, 12-year-old Tyree Guyton watched his city burn. In the aftermath of the Detroit riots, thriving communities rapidly became segregated urban ghettos characterized by poverty, neglect and despair.
In 1986, Guyton took a stand against the decay, crime and apathy in the neighborhood where he was raised. Using discarded objects from everyday life, he created a festival of color and meaning that has been described as a “Ghetto Guggenheim.” Using vacant lots and abandoned houses as his canvas, he transformed an entire block into a world-famous outdoor art environment and a thought-provoking statement on the plight of inner city communities.
As we walked around the couple of blocks, my attention kept being drawn by all the painted clock faces: different shapes and sizes, each with a different time painted on it, some alone, some in groups, nailed up to and painted on and leaning against every kind of surface, right-side-up and sideways and upside-down.
My husband walked up to the artist and asked him about it. Being an artist, Guyton answered in more questions.
What time is it? Where are you in time?
Guyton has been studying Plato and Albert Einstein and their writing about time.
Time is energy. It’s all about energy. What has time done to you?
As we walked, the same phrases played over and over in my mind:
It’s always time.
The time is now.
The time is now to do whatever it is that you so want to do. The time is now to seek change, whether personal or societal. It’s always time to do something that needs to be done.
And on a more personal level, the time is now to put in the work to realize my writing dreams. I need to put in the time.
And this one. This one cuts me to the quick.
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
(Psalm 13:1-2, NLT)
Because this is/was a forgotten neighborhood, and represents all the other neighborhoods abandoned by the powers that be. When will it be their time?
So, for me, the clock faces were rallying cry and lamentation, plea and accusation.
What is it time to do in your life? In your corner of the world?