Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Passage of Time

The psalmist notes that the "span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty" and then I wonder if it is possible that this anonymous psalmist could possibly have been my grandfather when he goes on to add, "...yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone." (Psalm 90:10)

One of my favorite poets asks on a summer day, "tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" (Mary Oliver) Still another poet offers this advice: "the secret to life is enjoying the passage of time." (James Taylor)

Lately I am aware of the passage of time: my "baby sister" turned forty last week and while she insists that she doesn't feel much older, her older brother sure does. My oldest son turns twenty this week; I was only a little bit older than he is now when I first met Hathy - in May we'll celebrate 25 years of marriage.

The psalmist's actuarial study suggests that I'm solidly in "middle age" at forty-seven. My father died at thirty-seven, so already I have "outlived" him by a decade. While I certainly have had and do have other role models in my life, sometimes it feels like I am blazing this trail of mid-life on my own - without a map.

But what I'm discovering is that there is much to enjoy, and much for which to be grateful. Since time, like an ever-rolling stream does bear all its sons away, it seems the only thing to do is to go with the flow and try to pay attention.

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