How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
It should not be so difficult to accept the fact that we have entered into the second trimester of the months most of us consider to be autumn. The calendar states that it is now October whether any of us is ready for it or not . . . states it right there in big bold letters that it is October. Yeah, I know . . . it is hard to believe. It seems as if it was only yesterday that we were enjoying the Indian Summer days of September . . . where did September go? Time sure has been moving fast . . . it will be December before we know it!
Now, I know better than to say that as I have gotten older that life seems to have gotten faster . . . I know better because it just is not true. Time doesn't change . . . it does move any faster or slower than it ever has . . . it is still the same despite my perceptions of it. Sixty seconds is still sixty seconds . . . an hour is an hour . . . a day is a day . . . and, unfortunately, a year is still a year. Time just keeps chugging away at the same old rate that it always has whether or not any of us wants it to. My getting older doesn't mean that time has sped up as much as it means that I have probably slowed down. Getting old sort of has it means of slowing us down; but, time remains consistent.
The problem is that it is just too darn consistent . . . and, I'm just too darn slow.
This year my oldest son turned thirty years old . . . thirty years old! He has passed into the realm of approaching "old fart" status with those under twenty-one. I must have blinked because I never saw it coming . . . the wife reminded me (as usual) that one of our children was approaching a "milestone" . . . thirty! It doesn't seem that long ago that I was chasing him around the yard, going to his sporting events, cheering him on when he graduated high school, and standing beside him in his ups and downs in life. Now the little fart is balder than his father and is thirty! Where did the time go?
Later this month the youngest granddaughter reaches the four month marker in her young life . . . she is constantly changing . . . growing and becoming more and more active. She is about at that stage that my father, and her great-grandfather, would say that she is fun. I remember seeing her in the hospital for the first time a few months ago and now she is too big to throw back. Where did time go?
How did so much time slip by . . . quickly in my mind . . . that I missed so much of what was going on around me? To see children grow. To see grandchildren grow. That is one of my complaints about time . . . one that seems as if time is moving faster than I can ever keep up with it. Time does not stop for anyone.
I think that the problem may lie more with me than with time. There is only so much time in any given moment and it is up to me as to where my focus happens to be . . . I must have been looking the other way when all the ones I loved grew . . . I must have been off chasing other dreams, hopes, and potential promises as the ones I love got bigger and older. I just did not notice because I was off attempting to get ahead of time . . . which is impossible to do. I guess that is the price one pays when looking to the future . . . you sacrifice the present.
Another problem I have with time is that it is consistent . . . it doesn't change . . . it remains the same no matter what one attempts to do with it. Sixty seconds is sixty seconds . . . an hour is an hour . . . a day, a day. It never changes. Knowing this reality then one should also know that a person can only do so much in any allotted time frame. If a person can only do one thing per hour then there is only the potential to do twenty-four things in a single day. Knowing this . . . why do we insist on scheduling ourselves in such a way that we can never accomplish everything that we want to do in any particular time frame?
The wife is good at setting up this quandary for me on a regular basis. Recently she wanted to go critter creeping on a day when I had to mow the grass, clean flower beds, write a sermon, create a bulletin, go out to lunch, and be back home to cook on the grill for the family that was coming over. We I tallied everything that needed to be done I had like a gazillion minutes worth of stuff to do and only a couple of minutes to do it in. When this happens someone is going to be disappointed . . . usually the wife. When the wife ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Sort of lends itself to a disaster in the making.
Happens all of the time no matter how many times I explain it to the wife or anyone else . . . there are only so many hours in a day to get everything done. When there is not adequate time to do everything we always seem to think that it because we "ran out of time". We can't run out of time . . . time is always the same! It never changes! Again, maybe I am getting too old . . . too slow . . . too distracted . . . too something . . . to keep up with time.
I just do not seem to have enough time. On the one hand it seems as if time is moving too fast, but it really isn't. It can't move any faster, nor can it move any slower. Since time cannot move any faster or slower, I guess it is up to me. I assure you that I cannot move any faster . . . I am too old and tired to move any faster . . . besides my body lets me know what a pain I am when I attempt to move faster . . . the aches and pains are good reminders to slow down. I suppose I could move slower, but then it seems as if time has sped up even more. Whatever the case, the fact is that in my life I do not seem to have enough time to do all the things that I want to do . . . and, to top it off, I am not very gracious in accepting the fact that I can't accomplish everything that I want to do. I am my own worse enemy.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is quite simple . . . "be still and know that I am God." I confess that I cannot tell you where that is in the Bible despite the fact that I am an ordained minister . . . I don't have time for such trivial matters as book, chapter, and verse . . . I have other matters to attend to. Yet, this verse says a lot about this issue of time. It speaks of being still . . . speaks of being present . . . of being still and present in the moment. When it comes to time that is all we can do . . . we can be still . . . we can be present to that moment . . . and, we can embrace it for what it is. It is a gift . . . a blessing . . . a time of being in the presence of others, and more importantly, in the presence of the Holy.
It really is not a radical idea . . . mystics have known this forever it seems. But it is a tough idea to embrace when one is caught up in the time trap. And, yet, it is the only way to really get a handle on time. In the stillness . . . in the presence . . . one comes into the moment for what it is and what it can become. It can become a memory. A memory stands outside of the realm of time. In that it is a gift and a blessing.
Yeah, I do wonder how it became so late so soon . . . how I have missed so much of life around me. Yet, I have the key to change all of that . . . stillness and presence in the moment that is at hand. I need more blessings in my life . . . time can never take those away. It is never too late. Be still and know. Enter into the blessing and know . . . time is what it is. I guess it is all a matter of how we look at it. Be still and know!