I’ve often heard people say that time slipped away. In my case this was a literal statement when my watch slipped out of my hand, hit a concrete floor and ended up in three pieces.
After several attempts I put it back together, minus a little plastic part that would no longer fit. The second hand started moving in its normal rhythm and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Later I glanced at my watch and was pleased to see how much I’d accomplished in a short time. Wait, something wasn’t right. The time hadn’t progressed since the watch had been dropped. Although the second hand continued its sweep, the message wasn’t getting to the other hands.
Over the next few days, I was surprised at how often I checked my wrist for the time. It was a habit more than anything. Although I wasn’t constantly being updated by a clock, I still had the same amount of time to use each day.
It’s up to me to either use it wisely or squander it. Is the importance of making the most of my time getting through to me or am I like that broken watch, going through the motions with nothing to show for the effort? Time should be made up of captured moments which turn into treasured memories.
The Bible tells us there is a time for everything. I’d hate to think I missed mine by letting it slip away.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
Brian and I walked to the lakeshore to watch the sun set. Its bright light reflected on the surface of the water as it slowly moved toward the horizon.
We wondered if the sun has its own thoughts, or reflections at the end of the day. Did it warm people as it shone on them? Did moods brighten at the sight of it? Did its heat cause some to seek shelter?
Maybe I should have the same kind of reflections as my day draws to a close. Would I be more aware of my attitude and activities if I asked myself a few simple questions every night?
Did I shine light and happiness on anyone today? Did my smile brighten a life? Were my words enough to warm a heart?
On the opposite side to this, was I harsh and unforgiving, causing those in my path to seek shelter rather than get burned?
I don’t expect each day to have clear, blue skies and no problems. That would be unrealistic. Clouds appear in everyone’s life. But, as most of us have observed, the most beautiful sunsets come when there are some clouds in the sky!
“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.” – Elbert Hubbard
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Robindranath Tagore
Brian saw it first. There on the top of one of the tall towers supporting power lines, was a huge eagle nest.
We pulled over and got out the binoculars to have a closer look. The black speck we could see from a distance was actually a young eagle standing slightly to one side of the nest. Upon scanning the area, we discovered an adult eagle on a nearby tower, keeping watch.
I looked at the tremendous height and thought of those eaglets learning to fly. This doesn’t happen quickly, it’s a process. I’ve been told the immature eagles often stand at the edge of the nest, frightened to take the risk to fly. When the parent thinks the eaglet is ready, it will push the young one out.
Sometimes I’ve done the preparation needed but have been afraid to take the risk to fly solo. My faith is still immature. In cases like this, I’ve appreciated a push that forced me to trust in my ability to soar. God has many ways of giving me the push I needed.
Like the adult eagles standing guard over their young, I know that God is always nearby, watching over me. Even when I’m not aware of his presence, he is there.
He teaches me what I need to learn and I am confident when he asks me to step out in faith, one of two things will happen. Either he will catch me when I fall or teach me to fly.
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
We saw them as we were walking along the beach. Three children had dug a hole in the wet sand and were now sitting in it, slathering themselves with mud.
Brian and I remarked on their obvious joy. A woman was standing nearby watching and I said, “They sure are having fun.” Her disapproval was obvious when she replied, “They’re so dirty. I’m glad they’re not my kids.”
This seemed such a sad statement. Their play was not a disturbance to those around them. We actually gained pleasure by just watching their fun. They were busy enjoying their mud baths, oblivious to the opinions of those around them. It was the children and not the adult who had the right idea.
I looked back to see one boy run into the lake, wash off and then return to his friends to paint arms and legs with mud once again.
Oh, to be like a child, free to ignore what other may think and just have fun. Sometimes I need to relax and not concern myself with maintaining a spotless image. It’s ok if my hands get dirty or I get mud on my face. There may be people who disapprove but there just may be more who want to enter the fun with me.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
Oh, the joy of annual inventory! In a gift store with many small items, the job can seem overwhelming. By the end of the second day, I was getting frustrated with myself when I forgot my tally and had to recount several items.
What I found interesting was the number of items I had forgotten we had. Some that had been tucked away need to be put out on display again, while others are best discarded.
After I had counted physical items, I decided to take inventory of my life. Holding onto past hurts, disappointments and regrets is a waste of valuable time and space. I need to let them go. Instead, I should be focusing on the many blessings in my life. They deserve to be put on display.
God has blessed me with a loving husband, and close relationships with our children and grandchildren. We are healthy, happy and productive. I have time to work, time to rest and time to play. I’ve been given inspiration to see the world in a positive light and to share that with others. I have a roof over my head, water that flows when I turn on a tap and food in my pantry.
I could go on and on as I count my blessings. They are far too numerous to list here and I know I will not grow tired of counting them.
All that I am and all that I have are gifts from God. By far the greatest gift is the joy I have in knowing I’m a much-loved child of my Heavenly Father.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. (Psalm 21:6 NIV)
Do you ever talk back to your GPS? Not only do my husband and I talk back to ours, we challenge it on a regular basis!
When I stop to think about it, the technology in these devices is quite remarkable. They pick up a signal pinpointing my location and then analyze routes to find the best one to get me to my destination.
Why would I pay for one of these units and then disregard what it tells me? The short answer is because I think I’m right!
We recently looked at a map to visualize our route before putting the address into the GPS. It didn’t take long before the familiar voice (we call her Susan), told us to turn and we said, “No, that’s not the right way.” It recalculated and gave new directions, which we also ignored. We carried on like this for close to two hours.
After reaching our destination we discovered the route Susan wanted us to take would have been more direct. There was more than one way to get to where we were going and the one we stubbornly stuck to was not the best one.
How often in life do I seek advice and then ignore it because I’m convinced I know best? When I’d rather be right than listen to other options, my objectivity suffers. Who knows what I might learn if I take the opportunity to listen to others? My lesson this time is that I’m not always right!
“There is no one as deaf as he who will not listen.” Yiddish Proverb
My husband and I recently attended a performance in an outdoor amphitheatre. We were searching for our seats when a helpful usher said, “Do you know where you’re going? Can I help?”
I thought we were close to our seats so wasn’t sure we needed assistance. Her guidance, however, proved to be very helpful.
We were seated close to the main walkway and observed this scene repeated numerous times as other struggled to figure out the seating arrangement.
Many patrons gratefully accepted assistance. A few surprised me by snapping, “I’ve got no idea.” as they carried on, not stopping to receive directions. Help was there and they refused it, preferring to keep walking in frustration.
I wondered how often foolish pride has kept me from accepting help when I needed it. Sometimes I just need to be pointed in the right direction. Other times I require more guidance. Either way, I won’t get the help I need unless I stop and ask.
There is one who always knows in which direction I should be headed. Not only does God know where I’m going, he is willing to show me the best way to get there. Sometimes he does this by sending someone to walk beside me. Other times he gives me the wisdom needed to find my way.
All I need to do is pray and then stop long enough to listen to the answer.
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)
Three young girls spent time with us recently. At some point during the day each did something silly and wanted their picture taken. Looking at the pictures later, I saw that each was a representation of the faces I show to the world.
Miss H. appeared before me in disguise. She wore a bright red wig, flashing glasses and other costume items. We laughed at how funny she looked but I was reminded of the times I’ve gone out of my way to hide who I was. In an attempt to mask my insecurity, I have disguised who I really am. This gets uncomfortable and can’t be maintained.
Miss S. said, “Look at me” as she sucked on a lemon. Although she made a face and removed it from her mouth, she soon put right back in there again. I wondered how often I look like I’ve been sucking on a lemon. Do I acknowledge what is unpleasant and then keep revisiting what it is that gives me a sour face?
Miss K. was photographed smiling, dancing and being her joyful self. She was totally comfortable with who she was and radiated happiness. I aspire to me more like this; free to embrace life without concern of what others may be thinking.
So, which face do I show you? I can hide behind a disguise and not let you see who I really am. I can choose bitterness or I can look for the positive and choose happiness. Thanks to the visual my granddaughters expressed, the choice is obvious!
Face.— The silent echo of the heart. ~”Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words,” The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824
Music has much to teach us about life. I didn’t realize how much until I heard a wise woman say that the rests in a piece of music don’t contain music themselves but are an important part of the complete piece. She went on to say the melody doesn’t end when you come to the pause; instead, you take the rest, carry on as if it hadn’t happened and hit the next note with confidence.
My life contains many similarities to music. I have times when all is smooth and steady, reminiscent of the whole notes. Then, there are the times when the tempo quickens like that of quarter and eighth notes.
The most interesting music has a combination of notes as well as sharps and flats. How I put these together in my life can create harmony or discord.
The part of the musical score I hadn’t thought about was the pauses.
Sometimes I have planned these into my life as a time of refreshment and renewal. Other times they are forced on me through illness, injury, or loss.
I had always thought of the unexpected rests in my life as interruptions. Now, I see they are not wasted time but actually help to make me who I am. It all depends on what I do with them.
Jesus was a perfect example of enjoying times of rest in the middle of the stress and demands of his busy life. He offers the same opportunity to me. I need to accept the full notes and the pauses.
When I spend quiet time with him I will be able to learn the melody he has set out for my life and hit the next note with confidence.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
Have you ever tucked away mementos for safe-keeping and then forgotten about them? I have. Recently I opened a drawer to place something else inside and knew it was time to sort through the over-stuffed contents.
Everything was removed as I considered whether to keep or discard the items. A large stack of cards from a milestone birthday took up half the drawer. I enjoyed reading them before they went to recycling. Assorted family photos brought back many happy memories. Those went back in the drawer.
Photo ID cards for my husband and me from Expo 86 in Vancouver showed that time hasn’t been standing still. In my mind, I look the same, but the mirror tells a different story!
Most of the items were familiar but one caught me by surprise. I don’t remember it and have no idea who gave it to me. Since it was with items more than ten years old, I’m assuming this bookmark has been tucked away quite some time.
The words You Are a Lover of Words . . . One Day, You Will Write a Book” are printed at the top. A lovely sentiment is below. Today you know me as a writer, but what you may not know, is I only started writing five years ago. Three years ago, my first book was released.
Someone saw a gift in me many years before I had the confidence to believe in myself. Now, reading this bookmark brings tears to my eyes. I was meant to be a writer. Pretending it wasn’t possible didn’t stop the process, only delayed it. The voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough was lying.
I’m telling you this because I believe many of you have also let this critical voice stop you from going after your dreams. Don’t believe the lies. Tell it to STOP and then go and do what you were born to do.
I’m living my dream. What’s yours?