A Reflection by Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH
“Time flies,” we say, and at times that is how it seems. We, who are remnants of an earlier era, who write letters by hand and/or keep a journal, may notice time’s passing more sharply if we usually note the day, date and year (as well as the time we are writing) at the beginning of each effort. I do, and I’m often startled by the number of days that have snuck by since my last writing. Where was I? What was I doing?
Then I wonder if noting day-date-time is my way of trying to control life’s passing. A couple of days ago, reading Roger Rosenblatt’s piercing account of his daughter’s sudden death, “Making Toast,” I came across this observation: “As far as I can tell, this is how to live—to value the passing time.”
I’d prefer to think that my practice of writing day and month in full, as well as taking notice of weather, season and special occasions (I am an inveterate greeting-card-sender) is actually the way I acknowledge what’s good—even special—about each day.
Having experienced some sudden deaths and other, more common tragedies in my lifetime, I am acutely aware that what’s left can be irrevocably altered in one swift second. We can choose to bemoan that fate (glass-half-empty stuff), or make it our business to celebrate all that’s left to us.
An old poem says, “Love is a choice and not an explanation.” So our choosing to write a note, send a card, make a phone call to honor a life may not feel wonderful, but it can be a deliberate nod to our great good fortune just to be fully (or mostly) functional: upright, ambulatory, and—in the old saying—able to take nourishment!
For Reflection: How do you intentionally acknowledge, and even celebrate, the gift of time that each day sets before you.