Don’t spend time wishing your life away

Several years ago, I was driving the short distance from boys’ basketball practice to the YMCA to home, my head spinning thinking what to fix for dinner before Boy Scouts. We were in hurry mode and quickly sped through the motions of dinner and arrived at Scouts on time. The roads were icy and snow is blowing and that, of course, makes for slow driving and extra “thinking” time. I reflected on how big my boys were and how, pardon the cliche, fast time is going. While waiting in the alley behind the Methodist church for Scouts to be released, the radio station K-LOVE began to play, “We Only Get One Time Around,” a contemporary Christian song that expresses the thought that what we do in this lifetime is all we get in this lifetime. We only get one time around and we need to live in the present and love the people in our lives like there is no tomorrow! We all use the cliche about how time flies and how quickly time passes, yet do we really understand that this is not a dress rehearsal? I heard a statement years ago that embodies a great truth, “Life happens while we are making plans.” There is truth in that sentence. Now, both boys are in college and it is as if life has been in “fast forward” mode. Some of you may remember VHS tapes and the ability to fast forward or rewind the tape. Life is not like that, however, and we only get one time around.

So many have fallen into the trap of “when such and such happens” that’s when life begins. For instance, for children they believe that when they reach high school, then that’s when life begins. Or high schoolers bored with the day-to-day routine believe that college life is “where it’s at.” Yet in college, after the initial excitement ends and the hard work commences, the yearning for the job that is waiting out there somewhere entices the collegiate to anticipate the day when this will all be over. Or a young person may think, when I meet Mr. or Mrs. Right, that’s when my life really starts. Raising little ones is sometimes difficult, so young parents wish for an easier time. This can continue throughout a lifetime so much that the “here and now” is surrendered to the “what will be” in the future. My friend, it does not have to be that way!

When my children were small, we read a story about a boy who had a magic golden ball of thread. Every time life became hard, distasteful or boring, he could pull that thread and he would be in the next stage of life. When in school he met a young girl and fell in love. But school became boring, so he pulled the thread and off he went into the army and on into war. War was horrible, so he pulled the thread and came home and married. Children soon came and became louder and irritating, so the thread is pulled again, and they are grown and leaving home. This was too much to bear, as the empty nest haunted him with the regrets of not spending time with his brood, so once again, the thread was pulled. This time he is standing at his mother’s grave. The pain was unbearable and the grief too much, so the thread is tugged once more, and he is retiring and now spending his days wondering what to do next. He yanked the thread with persistance seeking to change his days and arrive at life, but this time, he stood at the grave of his dear wife who had been his companion through all of life’s trials and hardships and had raised his children. He began to weep and wail and with tenacity pulled the thread again … and I believe it was at this point in the story, the young man woke up and found he was dreaming. He was back in school and had fallen asleep under a tree! Thankful, he leapt for joy and clapped his hands and realized he had not wasted his life wishing for a better time. Instead, he could spend his life with the people he loved. He walked over to the young girl with the brown eyes and smiled. This was going to be a great life. And he would never, and I mean never, wish any time, whether good or bad, away again. He would live his life loving, living, working and enjoying every minute of the here and now.

If only we could have such a dream that we would awaken out of the quest for the future and enjoy the here and now realizing that this day is a gift and that’s why it is called “the present.”

Kimberly Morgan is a wife, mom and bereavement counselor for hospice. She can be contacted