Time, It’s The Stuff Life is Made Of
:04 read “Time and tide wait for no man.” ~Geoffrey Chaucer
My first post here was on July 25. That day my husband and I were on our way to Iceland with my mom. She wanted to return to her homeland one more time and wanted us to join her in the experience. My posts haven’t been particularly personal and that’s been intentional. I’ve alluded to situations but only to illustrate a point. I never intend for this to be about me because I’m a student of life and I’ll always be one. None of us will ever “learn life” no matter how long we live or how hard we study. Today, it’s personal.
Our sweet mom, age 89, had a stroke in October and after a month of hospitalization and rehabilitation we have placed her in a loving, caring nursing home, just this week. All of us hope it will be a temporary transition and that she’ll get strong enough to return home to her own apartment. We’re facing an unknown outcome. For now, all we can do is to “let time take time.”
Without knowing what lies ahead, we have to pack up her things and put some of them in storage for an indefinite period. In the process, some things will be donated and some will be discarded. It’s been intensely emotional for all of us. Both my brothers have taken time from their busy lives and traveled back “home” to help me this week. We’ve sorted through years of memorablia and tried our best to do it respectfully. Since all of us can’t be together to do this, we’ve given careful consideration to setting aside some of her belongings for family members who we know will treasure them.
Powerful lessons we are learning about time.
Perhaps saying we’re learning them isn’t quite right. We never really learn some things until we experience them intimately. We’ve all known since childhood that life is fragile and uncertain because our dad died while we were all still very young. Now we’re learning that even a long life is short. We’re having a head-on collision with the fleeting and temporary nature of everything, including us. The opening quote reminds us no one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.
We’re prompted to remember that we all arrive with nothing and return in the same way. It’s a stern admonition, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Matthew 6:19-21. We should enjoy all the good things this world has to offer, but we musn’t become too attached to them and they sure can’t be our reason for living or our goals in this life.
Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, the wisdom of simplicity is a central message. We all tend to get very caught up in our “stuff” and when it’s time to pare down, we all wish we didn’t! Each of us returned home vowing to take a hard look at our own “treasures”! We’re realizing with crystal clarity all that truly remains after we are gone is the legacy we created. Our essence and how we impacted the people whose lives we touched is all we ever leave behind.
Moving from sadness to wisdom and strength
Life has a way of wrapping gifts inside of tough times. Most often we don’t find the hidden pearl of wisdom right away. Robert Schuller could turn a phrase in a way that really made it memorable. I loved to hear him speak. One of my favorites was “turn your scars into stars.” Oprah Winfrey says it this way, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
Maybe after some time to reflect on it, we will have developed a deeper and richer understanding of the things that truly matter, the things that last. Without a first hand lesson, we may not have come to such a clear understanding. Even hard stretches of time can create profound meaning in life. I suspect that we’ll all treasure our loved ones a little more tenderly, be a little less judgemental and a bit more patient. “This too shall pass” is the ultimate wisdom.
“Life is short, God’s way of encouraging a bit of focus.” ~Robert Brault,