There is nothing like an upcoming birthday and life circumstances to drive home the concept of the finiteness of time.
Next week, I turn some number I am not at liberty to announce to the world, thank you very much. It’s not a “Let’s have a Big Bash” birthday this year, but it is one more candle on an increasingly crowded cake. Lately, I haven’t been sleeping well, the clock and darkness indicating that I should be in bed, and not blogging, at this tender hour.
In the past six or seven years, I have attended more funerals than weddings. I have been at the bedside and have watched cherished family members and friends struggle through illness and pass away. I have questioned if I have used my time wisely. Truth be told, I have sometimes wondered to myself if others have as well.
I confess to being more than a little hung up on time right now. I find myself thinking about the sands slowly trickling down that “Days of our Lives” hourglass. I want to place it on its side and take a time-out.
If I could save time in a bottle…
Last summer, I was in upstate New York and on a lark, bought Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits at the town’s music store. Driving on the open road, I played Time in a Bottle so often that my son quietly changed the CD to his usual alt rock fare when I wasn’t paying attention. Is there anything more plaintively perfect than Jim’s voice and lyrics in that song? Listening to it after all these years, knowing that he died in a plane crash at the untimely age of thirty, just as he was achieving popular success for his music, made it all the more heartrending.
Increasingly, I am thinking about how time is such a precious commodity that we sometimes scrimp on it with others. Who hasn’t remarked to a neighbor, family member, or friend, when they receive a call or run into them that they just don’t have the time? It has become a huge put down--I only have so much time and I don’t want to waste it talking to you.
Does anybody really know what time it is?
Close your eyes and envision that most luxurious of gifts, a free afternoon, day or week. How would you spend your time? Would you give it to others freely?
We are very busy people here on the North Shore. But, there are others who greatly need our time. They are elderly or infirm and cannot leave their homes. They are disabled or autistic—or just plain shy-- and do not have a friend to count on. Spend time with someone you know who is hurting. Check on a neighbor or relative—someone you know well and someone you don’t. Visit. Call. Volunteer. There are a myriad of programs to help guide you. Keshet, The Friendship Circle, your church or synagogue, or any of the area hospitals or nursing homes, are good starting points. Make it Better Magazine and Volunteer Match are great resources, too.
Don’t put it off. Time, as it is said, waits for no one.