I guess this time of year marks for many of us anniversaries of the loss of loved ones. So often I am reminded of the close of life that has come for friends and family this time of year, the time when the weather cools and the nights lengthen. More hours of darkness leads to more hours at home for many of us, and for me leads to more hours of being quiet and thinking on things that matter. I find I never seem to have enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do or the many things I long to do like spending more time with the people I love.
So strange how busy work takes precedence over the truly valuable moments; talking to each other or taking a few seconds longer giving that much-needed hug or a leisurely walk holding the hand that was given to you to hold. I find myself saying to Noah “just a minute, I’ve got to put these clothes into to wash” or “it’s time to do the dishes” when what I would much rather do is lift him onto my lap and hold him while reading a book, or just sit and look into those large, bright blue eyes of his and listen to another animated tale of battle and victory for “the good guys.”
The days are slipping away and taking the weeks and months along with them. Already Noah is 5 and Riley is creeping over the baby phase into toddlerhood. I’m forty now and Erick is on his way to 46. My, my, my if only we could slow things down a bit, or at least be able to savor the truly special moments without feeling like we must hurry on to the next thing that seems to shout “this can’t wait!”
Is anyone relating or is it just me feeling like this life truly is passing as swiftly as the weaver’s shuttle? Oh this life is so precious, every day is a gift. I miss those who have lived out their days and are no longer among us and I long to see them again. How many times did I sit across from an old familiar friend seeing the lines in his face and his snowy white hair and take for granted the gift of his life and the wisdom he shared so freely and lovingly with me? If only I had known how fleeting the time, I would have sat a little longer, listened a little more intently, and held that hug more tightly and just hung on for a little while longer.
I’ve considered recently the treasure we have in those wise old friends of ours who love and pray for us as we run about our daily lives too busy to give them a call or stop by and say “I love you.” I wonder if telling our kids that it won’t last, to take the time now and be sure and make the days count, will it make a difference? Can they hear us through the hustle and bustle or will they too look back with regret when they pass by and see the old house empty where once it was warm and welcoming and there were arms ready to give a hug, a smile ready to light up just for them? Will they choose differently or do we only learn from the heartache of having failed to embrace the gift until we find it folded away not be offered again in that same package, not wrapped in that old familiar flesh?
I guess what I’m saying is that now I do hold on a little longer to those I love. I’m much more likely to run by and give a hug and whisper I love you when the opportunity comes my way because I know it won’t always be, but for those who are gone too quickly for me to say all I wanted to say, to thank in all the ways they deserved, it is too late. All I can do now is savor the sweet days that are gifted to me with as much intention and attention as I can and encourage my little ones to honor this day because when it passes it is a moment in time that will not return.
I write this in honor of all those who loved me so selflessly and handled me with such tender care in the years when I was too young to recognize the precious gift of the day! I pray we will all live with more awareness of the gift of life the Lord grants to us as we wake to find another morning with those we love.