Time Flies By

The great philosopher Ferris Bueller once quoted: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” He was right. Life does move pretty fast.

The picture above is of my father and I taken across the street at my aunt and uncle’s house. I was told to bring my dad over to surprise him for his 50th birthday; he was told to bring me over to celebrate my leaving for Indiana State University at the end of the month. The funny thing is that we were both right, and did our diligence to get the other one there on time.

Time has a funny way of showing you things as you step back and evaluate all that you’ve done, gone through, and accomplished. It also has a nagging way of letting you know how much more you have to do. But what is interesting in this picture, is that I am now the same age as my father in the picture. I look at this picture and remember how old he seemed to me. Still having some energy, but starting to wear out, things starting to hurt, and tired more frequently.

Time flew by the next twenty-eight years. I went to college and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree and a fiancé. Moved back to New Jersey with a good job only to leave for the Midwest again for a slower and less expensive life. Got married, but even though were never able to have children I used the time for work, which became ministry after things fell through later. Picking up the pieces, trying new things; serving the Lord and loving others, especially my bride, are my main focus.

My dad continued to serve in the fire department and worked until he retired in 2001. He poured his time into working at his church and driving part time for Hanna’s Florist and then Campbell Supply. He spent most of his time with family, friends, and poured himself into his grandchildren. Fifty turned to sixty and tragedy struck when he lost his daughter Jenni. His life was highs and lows. Sixty turned to seventy, then seventy-five, and gone. He was the oldest living Chirico male until seventy-seven even surpassing his brother at seventy-four and his dad at fifty-one.

Fifty-one — exactly this time next year for me. I look back at myself in this photo. Happy, full of energy, wanting to take on the world, and to make something of myself. I had a full head of hair and not a strand of grey in it. Now, I have more hair on my back, and whatever I do have on top has turned to grey.

My point to all of this is not self-loathing, sappy dribble full of regret and anger at myself or what had happened; or taking chances instead of taking the safe route, staying home and not exploring the world. When dad visited me he always commented on what a nice life I had, a good church full of people who loved me, and a home I called my own.

My mother sent me two birthday cards for my 50th. This one moved me to tears:

A son leaves your home
but never your heart. 
He discovers his own happiness
which, in turn, 
becomes yours. 

Life changes. 
Love does not. 

Happy 50th Birthday to a son
who's loved so much. 

Love you more, 

Even though I don’t have any children of my own, I would imagine all a parent wants is to see their child happy no matter what stage of life they are on. Maybe even if it means not seeing them every day. Maybe. But my point to all of this, is that life moves pretty fast. King Solomon said it best:

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, 
Before the difficult days come, 
And the years draw near when you say, 
"I have no pleasure in them": 

While the sun and the light, 
The moon and the stars, 
Are not darkened, 
And the clouds do not return after the rain; (failing sight)

In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, (aging body)
And the strong men bow down; 
When the grinders cease because they are few, (loss of teeth)
And those that look through the windows grow dim; (loss of sight)

When the doors are shut in the streets, 
And the sound of grinding is low; 
When one rises up at the sound of a bird, 
And all the daughters of music are brought low. (hearing loss)

Also they are afraid of height, (afraid of falling)
And of terrors in the way; (afraid of normal things)
When the almond tree blossoms, (hair turns grey)
The grasshopper is a burden, (small things are a nuisance)
And desire fails. (sexual desire diminishes)
For man goes to his eternal home, 
And the mourners go about the streets. (death)

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, (spinal injuries)
Or the golden bowl is broken, (brain / mind fades)
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, (heart problems) 
Or the wheel broken at the well. (Vein / blood issues)
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (death)

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, 
"All is vanity." [Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 NKJV] (emphasis mine)

How are you making the most of your time while you still have it?

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