Monday, March 4, 2013

The Passage of Time

Many years ago, when I was an elementary student at St. Monica’s in Cincinnati, I did quite a bit of daydreaming, especially during math class.  During those periods I would stare at the big circular clock that would tick ever so slowly. I was convinced something was wrong with that clock because it never seemed to move.  The minutes passed by so painfully slow.  Staring out the massive windows in our classroom, I wished I could be anywhere else but at my little wooden desk.  I would dream that a river would flow near the school and I could jump in and let the cool waters carry me home. Then Sister’s voice coming near me would startle me back to reality.  I would glance at the broken clock and see that the big hand had creaked only two more notches. Do you remember similar times as a child when the school day was interminably long, when you thought summer vacation would never come, when waiting for Christmas was sheer agony?  

It seems that when we’re children time is something we always wanted to pass.  We were always looking forward to something better.  We wanted to be older, to wear stockings and lipstick before our time, to be old enough to drive, to envision ourselves as adults and be the boss of somebody.  But as we grew older, time became elusive, its passing something that we could not control.  Before we knew it, all the things we longed for had come and gone and didn’t we just blink our eyes? Sometimes I feel like I am in a Rip Van Winkle story and I have been asleep for twenty years. What happened?  The babies that I lovingly rocked and read to now have children of their own.  Their cries for homework help and playground injuries have faded and I can’t help but wonder if I truly relished every single day I had with them. 

There aren’t a lot of perks that come with, shall I say, maturity.  The bones make strange noises, the joints ache, doctor visits become more frequent, wrinkles deepen and checking for root growth is a daily ritual.  However, I have to say that with age comes a marvelous gift and consolation.  It’s the gift of wisdom.  I have finally figured out the beauty and the wonder of the present moment.  No longer will I take time for granted.  Each morning God gives me a brand new day to be the best I can be no matter what I may encounter.

While my life is still a very busy one filled with lots of daily activities, I now greet each day with a prayer of thanksgiving.  It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing cold outside, or raining or snowing or foggy.  This day is precious.  Even if I have a splitting headache or I'm stuck in a horrific traffic jam, I am where I am supposed to be.  Each moment is a gift in and of itself.  If there’s a particular cross I am carrying, I know that God will give me the grace and the strength to endure it.  No more wishing this or that time away.  No more saying, “I can’t wait for this job to be over” or “If only these next few weeks would just fly by so I can go on vacation”.  

My friend, time IS flying by. Let’s not continually check the calendar or stare at that clock waiting for something else.  If you fall into bed at night completely spent and the day seemed like a blur, think of just one wonderful thing that happened. Recall it, burn it into your memory so that you didn't miss the joy of that day.  It's all about the present moment and making the best of it.  Your life is a gift from God.  Thank Him for it and embrace it.