There are many platitudes about the tempo of time: “Time marches on; time flies when you’re having fun; you’re as slow as Christmas.” There is no other place that the various perspectives on the tempo of time become more real for me than when I go back to my childhood home. My parents are still living in the same house that we moved into 56 years ago. All of my Dad’s sisters and brother are still living. Their ages range from 86 to 94 years old. To have them greet me when I arrive makes me feel like nothing has changed in the past 60 years, as if time has stopped. They move more slowly, they don’t hear as they once did, but they are still loving life as they always have. They are still funny and totally affirming. It feels like time has been standing still.
I know that time is marching on and I saw this played out. My Aunt Marjorie who is 94, has a lady named Ruby, who calls her on the phone every morning. Ruby is paid a dollar a day to make sure that Aunt Marge is up from bed and all is a-okay. If Aunt Marge does not come and answer the phone she calls my parents. Yesterday, Aunt Marjorie’s phone was busy for over an hour. Ruby wondered what could be going on. Our consensus was that Marjorie had forgotten to put the phone back in place. To resolve the issue, I got dressed, found the keys and made the 3 minute drive to Aunt Marjorie’s house. After looking around, we discovered the dead phone about the same time that the sheriff showed up thanks to Ruby. Ruby felt we weren’t moving fast enough. Friends, like Ruby, are caring, loving and concerned. She represents so many I knew during my formative years.
On the other hand, time is changing things here. As I was getting into my parents car, the sheriff pointed out that I had left my purse in the car in wide open view. He said they had problems with people breaking into cars and stealing. That statement kind of shocked me. I thought that time had stood still in this small town. In the past, we always left doors, windows and purses out in the open. I had noticed the security systems in my relatives’ homes and that there was a special effort to lock doors. For some reason I had not connected it to the fact that crime and the problems that happen everywhere could happen in what I always considered a safe and protected place. This little town was marching forward with all the good and bad that happens everywhere.
Time has its own tempo. Coming back to my roots has caused me to reflect about my first lessons in this area. The slower pace of life here does not mean that important matters are not accomplished. Here time has a richness that seems to embrace each moment. There is no frenetic pace. It appears to be void of frenzy. There’s an acceptance that we cannot speed time up or slow it down. There is is an attitude of gratitude for what one has. The glass that is half full and not half empty is a good visual picture.
The Psalmist reminds us, “My times are in your hands.” Psalms 31:15(NIV)
Sometimes I can feel like I am stuck in time and nothing is changing. There are other times when life is moving so fast and it seems out of control. In both of these situations I am reminded to embrace the tempo of time and accept its pace and make the most of each moment, each encounter, each opportunity or challenge remembering what is really important and to be thankful. More importantly, I know the one who holds it all and that time is in His hands.
3 thoughts on “The Tempo of Time”
Wonderful message, Lindy — your writing makes me feel as if I know your hometown and family intimately. Speaking of time, when are you coming home?
Bill will be back on Sunday and I will drive in with Kate on Monday. Thanks for your comments and see you soon!
Dear Lindy, it is wonderful to know that you still have a family, though aging, that takes care of each other. I used to want an “Alice,” as in “The Brady Bunch.’ Now I am getting to the age that a “Ruby” sounds pretty good. The fact that your parents have brothers and sisters who all stayed in the same town has helped form a great support system. Now, it seems we are all scattered, so we have to rely on friends and neighbors for that role. So, time moves on and we adjust, but thank God that we can take His love with us, wherever we go.
Thank you for these wonderful notes.