The Tyranny of Time
Fleeting, always fleeting
Never the ends meeting
Restless hearts beating,
To eternal drums
Just out of reach…
Time, as with many things in life can deceive like a master illusionist.
Losing seven loved ones in eight weeks can really do a number on one’s perception of time. In retrospect, it hardly seemed real. Most shocking was the sad realization that four of the seven loved ones were only in their early to mid twenties. Life was cut short suddenly as the last grains of sand fell through the hourglass of their lives on earth. And most of them never saw it coming.
Traumatic experiences like this one tend to cause those left behind to take a good hard look at their own lives, evaluating how they’ve chosen to spend their time up to now and how differently they might choose to spend it from now on. This has certainly been true in my case.
My personal prologue to death and dying began last October when my father lost an eight-month battle with a very rare form of cancer. At the end, for eight long weeks, my six adult siblings and I took turns helping our mother care for him, a loving vigil we kept faithfully around the clock until the moment of his death. As I sat by his bedside, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the past thirty-two years of our life as a family, all the memories, laughter and tears. How precious were those years together, and yet how fleeting.
Then, without warning, from February of this year through the middle of March, seven more loved ones slipped from this earth, one by one. It seemed an excruciating burden to bear. Even so, I learned a life altering truth in the midst of terrible grief: time waits for no man, woman or child.
The life we live today can be gone in an instant. We sorely delude ourselves if we think that we can take for granted the next moment of time. Often we erroneously think that we have all the time in the world to live, to breathe, to love and to dream. No longer will I take time for granted.
The most profound result of this journey is that it spurred me to do something recently I have been putting off for the past several years – write my last will and testament. Morbid? No - wise.
Here’s why: in the past seven years, my husband and I have been blessed with six beautiful grandchildren all of whom I love dearly. Time will never erase that love, even after I am gone. So I have decided that while I still have time, I will create a legacy of wonderful memories and experiences for them to treasure for the rest of their lives.
Suddenly, other subtle changes are emerging from my soul like tiny tender seedlings after a drenching spring rain. For one thing, I am determined to spend my time living out my dreams and using the gifts I have been given to help, motivate and inspire others instead of just thinking about doing so. Procrastination, indifference and foolishness like ruthless thieves have stolen way too much time from me that can never be returned - but no more.
I will redeem every moment of my life from this time forward, fully aware that each day is a special gift, each experience has a purpose, each life that intersects with mine is something rare, unique and to be treasured.
Ultimately, time is what we make of it. Spend it wisely.
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Wow this is powerful. I love the alliteration in your title, (I usually don't notice titles, but this jumped out at me.) your beautiful poem in the beginning and your sage advice. This is well-written, encouraging, and makes the reader stop and think. I'm so glad you have been able to take the heartache and use it to glorify God. Your grandchildren will be blessed by your words as I imagine several other generations as well. This piece will touch many hearts also. It's a reminder I especially needed right now.
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