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The Gift of Time

Such glorious weather! After the terrible heat that made most of us feel like wrung-out dishrags, these cool evenings have been so lovely. We turn off the air, open all the windows, listen to the katydids and cicadas sing their scratchy songs.

Because we had so much rain in the spring, the ferns and flowers are flourishing. The trees are full and green. Though most of the birds have quieted down, the wren still warbles near its birdhouse all day, and the cardinals call to one another every evening.

Sunsets have been showing off their colors, throwing that beautiful golden light on everything. For those few moments, we're surrounded by grandeur, by the extravagant beauty of God's created world-and we know ourselves a part of it.

As I'm sure you can tell, I'm reveling in this last month of summer, in spite of the pressure to rush the seasons. It seems to happen a little earlier every year. School now starts in early August, and though we tend to associate the return to school with the end of summer, a look at the calendar reminds us that fall is still over a month away!

Yet school supplies have been on display for weeks, and some stores began putting out Thanksgiving decorations in July! Can Christmas be far behind?

Why the need to rush through time, as though the present day is just something to get through on the way to a more important date, rather than a gift, a blessing to be enjoyed?

Yes, I know that being retired is a luxury. I stopped wearing a watch when I stopped teaching! If I choose, I can spend an entire day being still, just looking and listening, without the tyranny of a filled-to-bursting calendar lurking in the shadows. I can spend hours doing nothing but playing with and delighting in my granddaughter. A luxury, indeed.

I am in the season of life when the gift of time is a treasure.

Perhaps I'm more conscious of this because one of our dearest friends is fighting for his life. For him, and for his wife, time is measured by increments of chemotherapy, radiation, infusions, and blood counts.

Trapped in the insulated world of a hospital-even one so thoughtfully designed, with windows looking out onto gardens and fountains; with comfortable nooks where it's possible to rest quietly; with the gentle music of a grand piano echoing through an atrium-even with these gifts of solace, it is hard for them not to hear behind their backs, as the poet says, "time's winged chariot, hurrying near."

Hard to remember days when time stretched before them.

Friend, my prayer for you today is that you take the time-and have the desire-to feel yourself fully alive on this earth. To notice the gifts that surround you. Gifts of time, yes, but also of friendship, of beauty and love.

For no matter where you are in your life's journey, no matter what challenges you are facing, God is blessing you with this season, this day, and this moment. Relish it. Revel in it. Give thanks for it.


Lou Ann

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