photo by Jan Vašek at stocksnap.io
We stopped by my mom’s house after school. The sky was cloudy and the air crisp. I crossed my arms against my chest while my son rang the doorbell. “Chilly in August?” I thought to myself, “It’s too early.”
Mom came to the door looking beautiful, as she always does. Her sky blue eyes lit up at the sight of her grandson. I could tell she had missed him. We were squatters at her house during the summer, when the days were hot and the pool was cool. But the last two weeks had been different.
He walked inside and flopped onto the rug in the foyer. We both joined him and Mom asked him questions about the new school year. He answered them — short and (not all that) sweet. He wasn’t over the moon about school and working his way through transition.
I thought of my niece as well, she had started school the day before. “The kids are in 5th and 6th grade now,” I thought to myself as Mom and Sam chatted. I realized how quickly the years are passing. I suddenly felt hollow in my chest, like Time had carved a crevasse with a spoon. I was lost in my thoughts when Mom said, “I guess it’s time to close the pool since everyone is back in school. Swimming seems to stop when school starts up — it’s the signal that summer is over.”
Her statement shocked me and something in me wailed, “Summer is over?”
Sure, Sam had been back in school for over a week. Yes, my niece had started too. Of course I’d noticed the crazy morning traffic. Yes, I’d been back at work full time. My brain held the facts, but somehow my spirit had denied them until now.
As the truth sunk in, my body caved under the weight of realization. Spent were the Sundays that didn’t turn into busy Mondays. Expired were the evenings when we’d sit on the tailgate and watch the sun to go down. Over were the impromptu trips with a free flowing ending. Finished was the freedom of summer.
“How can this be?” I asked myself. Without saying anything, I got up and walked out back. I flung off my flip flop and stuck my foot in the pool. It was cold to the touch — not May cold and warming up with longer days ahead, but Fall cold and getting colder as the nights grew longer instead. Reality set in as I said to myself, “Summer. Is. Over.”
Mom had followed me outside. My gaze met hers and we both knew more than summer was gone. Gone was the only season the kids were 10 and 11 and adored hanging out with each other. Gone was the hope of finally getting the whole family to the ocean. Gone was the time we’d gather by her pool and order pizza and listen to the kids beg to spend the night. Gone were the days of kayaking the river just because the water was right. Gone was our grip on yet another season, another year. It was a stabbing reminder that we cannot stop time.
My son and I headed home to take care of our afternoon duties. Though the sun had come out, darkness held me. I took a walk. The strands of golden sunlight passing through the trees brightened my mind a bit.
I moved gingerly through the evening. Aware of how fragile my feelings were, I stayed present and gave thanks for the little things.
I set my phone alarm for an early school morning and crawled into bed. I thought more about summer passing too quickly but this time honesty trumped nostalgia. I realized in the summer months, I had complained about time too. I worried about not having enough time to get my work done while we played. Then I fretted over the time I worked and put my son in front of the TV and his tablet. It seemed I was perpetually battling time.
I turned onto my right side, pulled the covers up over my face and tucked my head in shame. My sleep was restless and torn, but a rich smell wafted in as my coffee maker began its brewing at 5 a.m. It was enough to get my feet to the floor and shuffling to the kitchen.
I pulled a mug from the cabinet, placed a bit of sweet in the bottom and splashed cream over it. I poured from the pot slowly until the color in my cup got just right. The first sip is Sabbath so I sat down and took my time with it.
I noticed in my “trying ever so hard to get quiet” mind, that I was already fighting about time again. I considered all I had to think about and pray for prior to the house waking up. Before that could happen with clarity, I’d have to wait for my thoughts to stop jumping around like corn in a hot skillet. “I’m already behind, and I’ve barely gotten started.” I whimpered.
And somewhere in the midst of it all, truth broke through.
“Why can’t I just make peace with time?” The words were foreign. Everything in me paused and stood like a solider at full attention waiting for what followed:
I say, ‘Time passes too quickly.’ But I am the one who passes too quickly. Time moves along at a perfectly predictable pace.
I say, ‘There is not enough time.’ But that is like saying there is not enough sun or sky. Time is eternal.
I say, ‘I need to manage my time better.’ But that is like saying I need to manage the ocean’s tide. Time lies in God’s hands, not mine.
I say, ‘I’ve run out of time.’ But that is like saying the Mississippi River has run out of water. Time flows perpetually.
I say, ‘She has more time than I do.’ But that is like saying time doesn’t treat everyone the same or share itself equally. Time does not discriminate.
I say, ‘Time is not on my side.’ But I am the one who is adversarial with Time- blaming, criticizing, controlling, kicking and screaming at its stride. And Time takes my tantrums, humbly and dutifully marching on.
This is Time’s job — to march on. If Time didn’t do its job, there would be nothing advancing me. Time propels me into decisions… awareness… action… forgiveness… growth. Time underpins the urgency I feel to live and love and serve and savor the moments.
The real story is, Time is my ally. Time lets me participate. Time includes me out of the goodness in its heart.
Today, I am making a peace treaty with the clock, the seasons and the mirror — the places where Time most shows itself marching on. I will recognize and respect Time’s loyal nature and stop blaming it for my problems and pain. In return, Time will give me today… and hopefully tomorrow and next week and years to come — but that is up to Time.
I wrote these things down and closed the journal in my lap. Sam’s alarm clock sounded off in his room. It was time for the day to begin. But before I stood up, I dropped my head to pray, “Thank you, Father Time, for letting me participate. May I make a peace with you that passes all understanding.”
Yes, summer is gone where I live, but the opportunity to change the way I partner with Time has just arrived.
Do you battle time, too? What would it be like to make peace with it? Leave a comment on Facebook or the blog. I’d love to hear from you.
I have Free Gifts for you here. An e-book about your path to purpose, a guided meditation to let go of worry, and a eulogy template. Yep, a place where you can write your own Eulogy now to get clear about the life you want to be living. I hope you’ll use it. It’s life changing.
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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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