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Jean Valjean was in his alone moment, confronted with a confusing situation, even though his lot was kindness, it was unexpected and misunderstood. For he could not interpret the events with a clear head. He was still angry with the injustice done him, and not knowing about eternal love, was still looking for the easy earthly route.

Later in the book, he faces another alone moment that stretches into the night, when he struggles against much stronger arguments of temptation to choose the comfortable over the painful. But here is his initiation into such a battle. It’s not so much a test, but a preparation for God to show him real love.

And so the clock “seemed to say to him: ‘Come along'”, and he followed the course that was expected for him.

Yet I face these moments as well. Being in a hurry to indulge in comfort leads to wrong moral choices. But indulging in eternity is much more rewarding, for it is real, and lasting. The clock has a different message: it says “Life is fleeting” and I can see the expanse of moments that are bounded by eternity. The next tick will come straightaway, and at the end of all ticks lies satisfaction for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.