My grandparents had this saying in cross stitch, hanging in their Lone Star Avenue home (No Man, of course, but I doubt either time or tide takes gender into account). It’s a truth often ignored: not one of us can stop time from flowing onward any more than we can stop the ebb and flow of the tide. What we cannot stop, slow, or accelerate moves us from infancy to our last breath. We can mark its passing and we can work with its movement, but we cannot rewind it, pause it, or skip ahead of its present offering. Time’s gifts are offered when they are offered. It is up to us to make of these gifts a life of love.
The cross stitch was half of a set – its companion hung next to it:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow…for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow…so quiet down cobwebs…dust go to sleep…I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
The irony of this saying: it is when we stop doing the day’s mundane tasks that we most notice the need to complete them. To live in the presence of new life, to lay aside the many tasks by which we are judged, is a blessing that comes at the price of work’s incompletion.
Life isn’t convenient and it doesn’t wait until the chores are done and the desk is cleared. The passage of time is one of the greatest incentives we have to focus on what is vital rather than what is merely important.
[For more on this series, click It’s About Time above.]