Saturday, August 20, 2005

Life Is Too Short

"Life is too short." This was one of my father's favourite sayings. Plus, "Do it now," and "She who hesitates is lost." The message was: procrastination leads to regret, and ultimately ruin!! Late in life, when asked if he had regrets, he said: "I wish I had gotten out to work sooner." In the 1930's young people worked to help support the family. Petted youngest of five, my father was offered university. (He got around to fulfilling his parents' dream in the 1960's.) But as a kid, he wanted to get his hands dirty. Contribute. Like his brothers and sisters. And as an old man, he wished he had started sooner!!! This from someone who worked harder than most any other two men I have ever known.

Obsessed with the brevity of time. Beneath an engraving of one of his handmade clocks, his gravestone reads, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Ps. 90:12 KJV My brother wanted us to put, "Life is too short." Funny. True. We balked at irreverent.

I'm numbering my days. Just attended a thirty year reunion of the booming Sunday School of our first pastorate. Met again the eager twelve year old, now a vigorous, greying, prosperous forty-two. And a man who finished his week of long distance trucking with a stint in one of the blue buses. He's retired, a widower, softer now, gentled down by time and sorrow. A Sunday School mom brought nearly grown grandchildren to the reunion. Her soft-featured metis face was beautiful as ever under snow white hair. Life is short.

I'm numbering days. The never ending purge of Dawsonwood continues. Sorting. Tossing. Keeping. Giving away. Going through old photos. Making up keepsake boxes for my parents' five grandchildren. Wasn't it only yesterday my parents were my age? There they are. Young looking. Taking trips to the Middle East and China. Here's Pavarotti, who they met somewhat incongruously in Beijing. Here are shards from that dig in the Middle East. Who gets that pen stand my father fashioned to display an ancient clay pot handle?? That shard is centuries older than any of us will ever be. Life is short.

Numbering days. Here are the incarnations of Dawsonwood Cottage in black and white and living colour. The house buried under snow. The garden with mini trees dug up from the wild and planted in their infancy. They are giants now. And the kitchen. Yellow. Aqua. French cafe mural. Red check curtains. Peach and green with subtle wallpaper. Infamous cluttered green plaid. It will be French again soon. French Country this time. If life isn't too short.

Days. Wasn't it only yesterday the children were small, fishing off the dock, paddling upstream? There's Rob. Supervising swimming. Playing guitar at campfire. A boy-man thin as a stick. Our girls, wee tots beneath blankets. Could it possibly have been raining? Were we singing in the rain? And here's my brother, young and handsome. Has he always worn that tidy beard? Nearly forever. Here's Dawsonwood buried in snow. Len's on the roof, shovelling. Drifts from the roof meet drifts on the ground. Life is too short.

I'm numbering my days. Perhaps that is why I stay up half the night. Redeeming the time. Reviewing my life for signs of wisdom. Finding beauty even in pictures of me. What's that father? "Too soon old, too late smart." Right.

Spent some time recently with a visitor who wondered why we only know what we know late in life. It seems to take for ever to be wise. No regrets. It is a process. The child who visioned the light of God at six, has walked in that light even when she thought it was darkness.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Ps. 90:12 NIV

11 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wilsonian said...

What a lovely way you handle memory :)

I pray your investment in passing on to others is sweet.

daisymarie said...

So much on my plate...so little time to savor the memories and moments...need to work to fix that.

Deb said...

I've been doing a lot of reflecting myself recently. My oldest son goes to college this week. Yesterday I was looking at his scrap book...baby pictures, first day at school, small fry football games...sweet memories. But, where did the time go? Life really is a process, one that continues to move. At times I want to make it stop, make time stand still. In those times I guess I need to trust God and accept the process.

annie said...

Sixth months shy of the half century mark, I find myself beginning to evaluate my days, and marveling at how fast life does go by.

I have read through this post several times, breathing it in, and just now I notice how you progress from "I'm numbering my days." to "I'm numbering days." to "Numbering days.", to simply "Days.", the words dwindling down, like our lives do. That is so incredibly beautiful/sad. How quickly our lives are spent, whether we live them well, or squander them.

I feel challenged to value my days, and to spend them well. Thank you.

Lisa said...

Beautiful, Connie. Thank you.

friend said...

Beautiful.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
susiealbertmiller said...

these past few weeks have been filled with memories and the futile effort of stopping time...thanks for your beautiful words and weavings that invite me to linger in mine...

Anonymous said...

How true! Life is too short. In that case, I should probably go and do something...thanks for this wonderfully written reminder. And I can have that pen stand if you want....
Live,
Love,
Laugh,
Your Barbara

Discount Cat Furniture said...

I was looking for a specific blog when I came here (this isn't the blog I was after).... But hey, after looking around, I decided that your blog is certainly worth bookmarking for another visit later. Discount Cat Furniture