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Jack McCall: Time keeps marching on and on

Jack McCall • Updated Jul 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

t seems like yesterday when a nurse in the hospital delivery room turned and handed our first-born son to me as she said, “We’re going to let the father take him down to the nurse’s station and weigh him.” We celebrated his 38th birthday last May.

My graduating class of 1969 will mark its 49th class reunion this summer.

Last week, I helped my son, Joseph, finish a fencing project on my farm. It involved pulling barbed wire and driving steel fence posts. Needless to say, this summer’s heat made the job even more challenging. At the end of the day, I was huffing and puffing and hurting. It took me a day or two to get over the heat and the exertion. And I needed some Ibuprofen. Sometimes I’m reminded I am like the ole grey mare, “She ain’t what she use to be.”

Someone once said, “Time marches on, times waits for no man, and time will tell.” I can tell time is telling.

It’s hard to believe 2018 is half gone.

As I grow older, weeks seem more like days, months seem more like weeks, and the years seem as short as months. I’m trying to slow things down, and time keeps picking up speed. 

Years ago, dear friend and saint, Sam A. Denton, discussed the concept of time with me. 

“You think time is going by fast now,” he said. “Just wait until you get to be my age. It flies by.” He was probably in his late 50s at the time. I have lived to see the truth in his words.

My mother, who died at 89, use to say looking back upon her life, “It’s like a dream.”

Moses wrote in the 90th Psalm, “We spend our years as a tale that is told.” He describes the passing of time as “a sleep,” “as grass that flourishes and growth up, and in the evening is cut down” and “as a watch in the night.” 

He goes on to say, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” 

Numbering our days…I think time seems to be passing more quickly because we become more aware of its value as we get older, and we realize we do not have as much time left. 

And so the question becomes what shall we do with the time we have left? The Apostle Paul called it “redeeming the time.” What shall we trade or exchange for our remaining time? How shall we live out the rest of our lives?

On the subject of time, Arnold Bennett wrote, “Time is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing is. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning and lo. Your purse is magically filled with 24 hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life. It is yours.

“It is the most precious of possessions. ... No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.

“Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get in debt. You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you. I said the affair is a miracle. Is it not?

“Which of us is not saying to himself – which of us has not been saying to himself all his life, ‘I shall alter that when I have a little more time?’

We never shall have any more time. We have, and we always have had, all the time there is.”

Which begs the question again, what shall we do with it?

Rudyard Kipling, in addressing the subject of maturity in his classic poem entitled “If,” challenged us to “fulfill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds distance run.”

That’s it – to make the most of our allotted time.

The words of an old hymn remind us yet again of a pressing reality: “Years of time are swiftly passing, bringing nearer heaven’s goal…” 

Jack McCall is an author and also writes a weekly column for The Democrat.  

 

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