Reflections on Time and Milestones

Reflections on Time and Milestones May 29, 2024



Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance, 

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Times Change

It is Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day–a happy day for teachers, students, and their families–the passing of another school year.  However, the past three days have found me dealing oddly with the passage of time. 

Saturday was the 2024 Graduation for the school where I teach. It was, of course, very exciting for those young adults that I had taught since their eighth grade year. As all teachers, I felt a tug on my heart, realizing that the years had flown and I would most likely not be seeing this special group  again.

Only weeks before, I had a conversation with one of those students involving a perspective of time:

Me: T., you are one of the two who will not be 18 yet when we go to Florida. I’m going to need your permission forms.

T.: Yeah, I won’t be 18 until August.

Me. Oh, I’m an August kid myself, only 50 years older than you. 

T.: [weird look]

Me: Yep, I was half a century old when you were born.

From the look on T’s face, I could tell this was a perspective he had not considered before. In fact, this young man who always had something to say had no words. It was pretty funny!

So he graduated on Saturday, along with the others who I had invested in and who had, if truth be told, invested in me. And yes, I shed a tear or two for all of them as the video played during the ceremony showing their pictures and documenting their passage from baby to high school graduate. 

Heavy sigh, and on to Sunday. On Sunday I sat with members of my own 1974 graduating class from my small town Ohio school. We sat in a section of the football field dedicated to honoring the 50-year graduating class. It was, at once, fun and sad. Some I had not seen since our graduation, and may never see again. In a very big way, it seemed unbelievable that 50 years had passed. Where did they go?

Many Memories

Then came Monday morning, Memorial Day, I was out on an errand that took me close to my parents’ house–the one they sold only months ago when they moved into an assisted living complex. That house was such a great part of my life and my children’s lives. It was a beautiful, large welcoming place with a big deck out back where, years ago, before the trees grew tall, one could see the Ohio River making its silver way south. By that deck stood a huge maple tree that had grown from a twig that my parents planted the year they moved in. It was the most pleasant thing in the world to sit outside on that deck on a summer day shaded by that grand tree where birds sang and wind whispered.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Did you ever know you shouldn’t do something, but you did it anyway, and then you found out for sure that you shouldn’t have done it?  Well, that’s what happened. I decided to drive by the house.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     That beautiful maple tree … is gone.

After I got home and had a good cry for the tree, Marty and I began our Memorial Day tradition of visiting the cemeteries where our relatives are buried. We go to clean up the graves and place new flowers (the fake ones that won’t fade before next visit). It took most of the afternoon. Grandparents, step-grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles … I doubt they knew we were there, but it was a small token of love and memory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

My mom thought the cemeteries would be crowded since it was Memorial Day, but they weren’t. I doubt we saw a dozen other people in the four cemeteries we visited.

It made me wonder what people do to honor the memories of their elders these days.                  

All these activities reminded me that time was passing quickly by. I have said for years that life is like a roll of toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it spins. It seems to be spinning pretty fast right now. 

Ecclesiastes 3 goes on to say: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

One of these days, time is not going to be an issue. Not sure how I feel about that, but it is a comfort to know that all this growing old and bidding good-bye will no longer be a thing. It’s just too hard.

God bless you and teach you not to take your moments, days, and years for granted.




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