I imagine most of us enter a new year with some resolve about what we’d like to accomplish–maybe a thing or two we’d like to start or finish, something new we hope to try, something old we plan to let go of. We probably take a look back and wonder how that last year got by us so fast. We might worry, especially when we’re in our later years. The idea that our lives could be slipping away faster than we can catch them can be unsettling. But…we can think bolder than that.
A long time ago I began to realize that the years always go faster when I’m looking back at them. If I look back at ten Christmases, I say, “Holy Cow, where did they go?” But when I look ahead ten Christmases, it’s very different. Ten Christmas seasons. Ten years I’m going to put up the tree and take it down with every midnight Mass and holiday get-together and black Friday in between. All of it followed by…let me do the math…oh, yeah…400 days of lent! Then there’s ten Spring times waiting on the crocuses and wiring up the tomato plants. Ten Summers sitting by the ocean or walking in the woods. Ten Autumns, bringing in the first batch of firewood.
We look at our fifteen-year-old grandchild and say, “How is it possible this kid has grown up so quickly?” Yet, when we look at our new-born grandchild, we can’t even fathom the fifteen years to come. Here and now is the loveliest and most blessed of places.
It doesn’t take long to see that there’s time. Time to explore new thoughts and some new adventure. Time to say “Hello,” “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you.” There’s likely more time than we realize for the big things–making that trip to China, writing that novel, starting that ministry, training for that marathon. There might only be time for the smaller things that really end up being not so small–taking a hand, blowing a kiss, jotting a note, saying a prayer. Wishing well for others. Giving thanks.
I once read something “anonymous” and profound. I can’t remember the whole thing, but it ended this way – choose very carefully what you do today because you are giving up a day of your life to do it.
In the end, I will have as much time as I’m supposed to have. I pray to use it wisely and with great joy and wonder.