How does time manage to do this? The answer has eluded me. Perhaps I am thinking about it more due to my own revelation that my time on this earth will not last forever or because I now have more than one generation following my own. The reason could be that as soon as I’m used to the fact that it’s Monday, Friday rolls around. How do the days go by so quickly? And it’s not just the weeks or months! I wake to the sun coming in the window, blink and I’m turning down the bed wondering just where the day went. What happened to those days of childhood which seemed to drag on endlessly when I was waiting for my birthday or Christmas?
All this musing about time has made me realize that it is truly something precious. If I’d known I’d only have a few hours to prepare for this or that, would I have spent some of it washing dishes instead of putting my best into whatever I’d be on call for? If I’d realized that my children would grow up much faster than the time of childhood indicated would I have played with them more, held them more, sacrificed myself a little more than I did? Had I known the time I’d spent with my father during the last week of his life, was actually that, the last week of his life, would I have treated it differently? Or that when I saw my mother that weekend in July that it would be the last time I saw her, would I have remembered to thank her for shaping me into the person I am today, hugged her a little longer, or even prolonged the visit? I’m not sure I understood in those moments that those times were as special as they were. I do now.
And yet, I know that I have treasured time as well. There are thousands of pictures that attest to this! In moments when I miss my father or mother, I turn to a picture and cherish the memories that are attached to it. I catch a look or see some sort of action by my grandson and place it next to a picture of my son doing the exact same thing and can’t help but smile over the mystery of genetics. I remember the places I’ve visited and the wonderful experiences that took place there and can feel them all over again by looking at a picture taken when I was there. While time can (and will) steal that physical moment it generously gives it back in my memory.
While time is allowed to speed by in our culture, and in fact, it is virtually pushed to its limit by our non-stop pace, it can easily come crashing to a halt when a catastrophe strikes. Storms, illness, or personal issues can all too quickly put time into a position where we clearly see its value and fleeting nature. So it is all the more reason to look closely at how we are spending it and with whom. For we never know when time will be gracious, or when it will slip away without warning.
Ann H. LeFevre 3/8/2017