Yesterday, while I was trolling the internet, I stumbled over a notice for a charity walk that took place in my old hometown area last fall. It’s an annual walk to support the fight against world hunger, one I’d joined many times when I lived in the area. I think I smiled for a nanosecond, remembering how much fun I used to have, and then I skimmed the full headline.
There was a name I recognized—tied to the words “in memory of”—the name of a woman I’d gone to church with for years, whose daughter was in my son’s Sunday School classes. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out she’d died.
I clicked to open the article and discovered she had indeed passed away several months before the event. The article didn’t say how or why, but she was only a year or two older than I am, so my mind supplied all sorts of ailments and diseases that could have taken her life at a relatively young age. The cause doesn’t matter though. What matters is that a husband of 25-plus years and two college-age daughters lost a wife and mother, that the organization lost a tireless worker, and that many others lost a daughter, sister and friend.
I can’t say I counted myself among those friends. We never got to know each other well during the time I attended that church, but it made me so sad. Such a lovely lady, here one day, gone the next. I wish I’d taken the time to get to know her while I had the chance.
I wish it hadn’t taken the discovery of a long-past tragedy to remind me that time is precious. And I wish I didn’t spend so much of it (time) wishing it away…wishing for the hours in a workday to fly, wishing for the days to pass and for the weekend to come.
As a writer, I joke that when I have to rewrite something, it’s no biggie. They’re just words, I tell myself, and there’s no bottom to the big ol’ barrel of words, so to speak. Words, to me, are the ultimate recyclable, the perfect renewable energy.
But time? Time is different. Time is more than precious. It’s the one “commodity” we can never manufacture, buy, or bargain for. Once it’s spent, it’s spent, never to be reclaimed.
So here I am telling myself (again) to use every minute of every day for something good, something purposeful. Something that will matter to someone, somewhere. And here I am pledging to keep my loved ones close, to stay in touch, and to let them know how much they matter to me, every day.
I only hope I’ll have the time.