I've thought a lot about time. I've written a bit about time. I suppose it's in my nature to look backwards rather than forwards. Perhaps that explains my inability to set and work towards goals. I look back and remember...typically without the weight of woulda, shoulda, coulda's but with the all too often heaviness of simply wishing for a bit more time in whatever memory I had conjured up.
Time. Slow when we want it to fly by. All too quick when all we want it to do is freeze. Never enough yet always too much. Life's greatest gift yet the thief in the night we all dread. Nothing escapes her wrath. Not the moments we can't wait to experience and certainly the moments we wish would never come. It is the rarely gentle reminder that we are mortals....that age is more than a number...that it doesn't matter if we're ready or not, when it's our time...it's our time.
Over the past couple weeks I've seen the reality of that. Youth stolen in an instant. A man who answered God's call yet given only a few years to do His work. A girl with her whole life ahead of her taken way too soon. Yes, when it's your time...well, nothing can stop the call home. But, are we ever really ready? I've thought a lot about that very question in the past few days. The thoughts we have, the things we THINK are important, the things we give too much time and energy to, the people we surround ourselves with, the thoughts we allow to give us grief and worry...I am fairly certain those things would not matter in the least when our own final moments are on the table. This girl...19 years old with the same name as my daughter...I have caught myself wondering how her last day looked...what her thoughts were as she lived her last few hours, and then her final moments...and I can't help but think about what I've done throughout my days as of late and almost hate knowing that if this were my last few hours, my final chance to make an impression...well, what would it be? Narcissistic? Maybe a little. But, how can we face death - and, let's be real, most often we face death by mourning the life of another - without a bit of narcissism? What would my final impression on this earth be? What would be left of me? I worry most about M...how it would affect her (and, honestly, I can't even go there because if I do it comes close to breaking me.)
What I know is this: life is short. Yes, I've said that a kajillion times and I will say it over and over again. We get one shot...one chance at this. That's not much, but it's all we get. And, at 40, I've seen the past 10 years fly by at a rate I can hardly wrap my head around so I’m fairly certain the next 10 will be nothing more than a flash in the pan as I cross new bridges and create the next chapters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for the ability to feel, the chance to live these moments. I’m well aware that every day is a gift. Well. Aware. But...I’m a realist...so, I can’t help but be completely honest with myself about the truth that comes with the passage of time. People I love are getting older and facing health issues bigger than I want to fully face. Nevermind the accidents and tragedies that swoop in without any regard for the plans we carefully make in the moments when we feel invincible and like we have forever to do nothing but live.
I know. This one is dark. Yes, I have much to be thankful for. Yes, there are good days behind us and many more good days ahead of us than bad. Thank God. But, time ensures that we do not get to determine the number of either and just as soon as we get greedy with the good, we are reminded that time truly isn’t ours to manage. It is simple our responsibility...our privilege...to live what we’re given as fully as possible. Don’t rush the wait. Don’t curse the moments that pass too quickly. Just...be. Ultimately I’m going to try and look forward more than I look back. To see the potential of whatever comes next and to live now as completely as possible.
Time. While cruel and ruthless at times, is more often beautiful and inspiring than we tend to appreciate.