This is my sister Darlene and I way back in 1985. She was eight months pregnant with her first daughter, Denise. Could it possibly be true that 1985 was really thirty-five years ago? Could it possibly be true that my beautiful, artistic sister just turned sixty years old? Could it possibly true be that she is now the grandmother of three incredible little girls?
Time is brutal in its passage; it does not stop for anyone. Time is precious like the final drop of water in a vast and scorching desert. Time is elusive; its march cannot be stopped. There is no turning back with time; once spent it is forever, irretrievably lost, gone.
My niece Denise called me to tell me that she cannot believe that she is five short years away from forty. Her daughter Maya is about to turn seventeen. Yes, time marches forward and never waits for any of us.
Time is shockingly short, as well, when we look at the thousands of years that stretch out behind the human march forward to this very second in which we live. We are here for just a little while when viewed through the lens of millennia.
On the day that my sister and I smiled into the camera that our mother was holding, the whole of our futures lay before us. She was eagerly awaiting the birth of her precious daughter; I was a young bride, just recently married. Yes, the whole world lay before us. We were giddy with the promises of love, of children, of careers, of travel, of all that our hearts could ever possibly desire.
Neither of us could at that moment have possibly comprehended just how shockingly cruel that time’s march forward could be. Neither of us could have imagined the losses, the hurts, the disappointments, the ravishes that time could exact upon dreams, aspirations, and the human heart.
Our beloved sister Sara died of lymphoma a few years later and our beloved mother died within a few years of that picture being taken, as well.
Now, Darlene and I have both surpassed the age at which our beloved sister Sara died. Sara died at forty-nine years old. It feels as if it were just yesterday that Sara, Darlene, Mama and I sat at the kitchen table gossiping, drinking sweet tea and eating pound cake. It feels like just yesterday. Just yesterday. But, it isn’t. It is as if we blinked and the decades dissolved and have become irretrievably lost.
Time marches on and we cannot call back any of it. We cannot change a single second by looking backwards. Once done, it is over. It is a waste of this precious, shockingly short life when we hold grudges, envy, and hate. It is a waste of this precious, shockingly short life when we fail to forgive, when we fail to love.
One day, we will all have to say good-bye to this world and all that is in it. We are all here for just a short time. Shouldn’t we spend this brief time building up rather than tearing down? Shouldn’t we leave this world a better world than when we arrived in it?
I am shocked by the passage of time. I remember at thirty years old thinking that my forty-nine year old sister was old. Now that I am almost fifty-nine, I think that she was way, way too young to have died so young.
Oh, what I would give to just spend ten more minutes at the kitchen table talking to Sara, Mama and Darlene! If only I could go back to those moments and give each of them a hug! I would wrap each of them in an embrace and I would never, ever let either of them go.
But, I cannot go back and hug Mama or Sara, but I can hug Darlene. She is my beloved sixty year old sister. I know that one day one of us will no longer be here in this space in time, that one of us will have to say good-bye first and leave the other one behind. Time is brutal in its passing.
Time waits for no one. Time marches on. The past is the past and it cannot be altered in any way. All we truly have is this moment. I plan to call my sister just to say “I love you, Nina.” And I do.
Life is short; time passes quickly. Please remember that and reach out to those whom you love. Time waits for no one.
May God have eternal mercy on us, give us wisdom, grant us peace, and forgive us our transgressions. Amen.
Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews