We think we have time. We live like we have forever, and in some ways we do. We have time until we do not. And there are no ways of knowing when that will change. But change it will, somewhere, sometime, somehow. Maybe it is becoming older and seeing people pass from my life and knowing our time was done. Maybe it is seeing those I love in distress or close to death and getting another chance with them. Here is what I know, time is precious, days are precious, I cannot afford to waste them.
Since I cannot predict when my last words, or sharing will be with someone every time becomes important. I have a grandmother, my last living direct female before me, who is 94. She is amazing. She lives alone and still goes to church, senior center, out to lunch, she is very active. And her mind, probably better than mine. But she is 94 and the body wears down. I had a chance to see her last weekend and I grabbed it. I spent about an hour sitting next to her, listening to her stories, seeing her smile and laugh. I didn’t really know how important that time was, later that day she went into the hospital. There was some stuff going on she had not shared with us. She is okay now, and coming home today. But what if it had been different? And how would I have felt if I had not taken the time to be loving and kind to Grandma?
I know this is an extreme example. Most people I see are not 94 and headed to the hospital. Almost always I will see them again. But you know that feeling, that moment when you hear that someone has passed? For me, one of my first reactions is remembering the last time I saw them. I want those memories to be loving, I want those memories to make me smile. I want those memories to bring me peace. And that, my friends, is up to me.
Which means I have to approach life with a loving heart. All those people who seen me for the last time, I want them to have a warm memory of me. I want them to smile or know we parted with good in our hearts for each other. Because the truth there are friends and family in my life right now I have had my final time with. And I cannot change any of that. I can search my mind and my heart to see if I have left wounds anywhere. There are probably a few, I have tried not to burn bridges, but I have also set a couple on fire. Mostly that was self preservation and to make sure I could not cross that bridge again. If I have any opportunities to make amends I should grab them. I do not always get second chances.
“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
― George Harrison
So the past is the past and I have today. I can connect with people kindly and lovingly. When I am feeling I love someone, I can tell them. I can let people know they are important to me. I can leave people feeling like they were glad I was there. At the very least I can be gracious. I can make sure not to throw away time. I can make today count.
We think we have time, and we do, and we don’t . Time is a trickster, it fools us into complacency. A feeling that we have tomorrow, and next week and next month. And mostly we do, until we don’t. And that is the tricky part. You just never know. I cannot live in such a heightened state of time awareness that it stresses me out and I miss the joys of today. Living each day as if it were my last? To truly do that feels impossible, how would I even know what that will feel like? I cannot, as far as I know I have tomorrow.
I want to live in a way that honors every day. With awareness that my acts of today build my tomorrows. To know way I treat people, the love I show, the respect and attention I give others will hold me through the losses. So this is not about dying, it is about living. Living with the true knowledge that every encounters matters, that everything I do makes an impact. It is not for me to know where the ripples of my life will reach. I just have to send out good ripples. To live honestly, kindly and lovingly. To know that whether it is me or another looking back at our final encounter we can smile and be at peace.
Go out into the world today and love it. Be kind to those you know, be gracious. Show attention and recognition. If I see you today I am aware that moment in time is precious for us. Each opportunity to connect and love is a gift. Let us not waste that. Let us not waste time, what on earth could be more precious? At the end of the day, let us know we had we spent our time wisely, lovingly and with awareness.
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