Wednesday, January 2, 2019
We Cannot Stop Time
Toward the end of her life, my Mama was very optimistic, irritatingly rosy at times. She always told me that life was good. Every morning it was not unusual to get a phone call from her. After we exchanged the general pleasantries, she would always say, "Did you know 'so 'n so' died?" If I was not familiar with this most recently departed, I would judge my reply carefully. If I had some time, I would ask Mama who this person was. Ten minutes later I would find myself tired, looking at my watch, and questioning my insanity to inquire.
Mama died in 2012. And with her, went those of daily updates of the dead and dying. After that, even though I was out and about in the community and kept up with friends, I often was the last person to learn of someones (or their loved one's) demise. So I then found myself looking at the local paper's Obituary column daily. Even worse, I was able to sign up to receive an email every morning of the obituary column. One knows they are old, long in the tooth, whatever, when that message is the first one you check when opening your email every morning.
And, yes, I think of my Mama every time I look down the list of names. It is a generational thing. While the ages of those listed in the daily column were once mostly of older folks. You know, in their 70's or 80's. They are getting younger everyday. It doesn't take new math for one to realize that the difference between their ages and mine is quickly diminishing. Now, I have passed that milestone and have become a member of the generation who wants time to stop. It goes by so quickly.
Seeing the new Mary Poppins movie with my granddaughters a week ago brought these feelings to the surface. Looking at Loulou's face staring at the screen in rapt wonder, made me question - what happened to the time? Surely it couldn't have been that long ago when it was me, at age 5, sitting in the theater with my parents, watching the original Mary Poppins - my first movie. It seems like merely a short time ago, not the 54 years that have truly passed.
Nothing can slow time down. There is no miracle elixir (or phone app) to make it stop. Short of being in Wilder's "Our Town", we cannot go back in time - relive those moments. In that story, the stage narrator warns Emily when she wants to return for one day, “Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.” This is a quote that has stayed with me since college.
It is the mundane that gives us comfort. Sure Christmas mornings as a child, one's wedding day, graduation, etc would generally be the ones we want to relive. But chances are we have fairly clear memories of those particular days. Most likely there are old photos, faded flowers, or some other tangible items that tie us to those particular moments. But, it is the "every" days that would give a better look back. True, one day in a life of hundreds of thousands seems minute. But each day is part of one's fabric of their life. I'm not sure what day I would chose. But then, if I knew a day, it would have been memorable - which defeats the purpose.
My doctor once gave me wise advice when I was stressed. "Live in the moment," he said. It took me a while to grasp that concept. So I try to 'live in the moment' when I can. Worrying about something will do me no good. After all, if I could do something about what I am fretting over, I should have already done it. Otherwise I have to realize it is out of my hands. So remember to 'Stop and smell the roses', advice we have all heard. The trick is finding and recognizing the roses among all life's melee. After all, no one promised us a rose garden.