There is something final and complete in the words “never” and “always.” They seem to be found as the extreme points on questionnaires or they are used in everyday language to point out some strength of our character such as “I would never yell at someone” or “I always put the toilet seat down.” In my experience the words “never” and “always” are not quite so final and complete as we tend to believe, especially when it involves time. There is never and always enough time.
From my daily experiences, I seem painfully aware that there never seems to be enough time. A common morning question in my household is “how does your day look?” The question has little to do with the weather outside, instead it is the entry point of sharing our “to do lists.” Every morning I am full of optimism as I describe my day…the evening, while not pessimistic, does not seem to match the picture I described in the morning. I have usually completed a myriad of tasks and interacted with numerous folks and solved problems all day long, and yet I tend to see what was not completed or who I did not contact or those issues that remain to be resolved. There never seems to be enough time to do what I want and need to do in any given day. This is not new to me and is not a modern artifact, but more likely a relic we have carried throughout human civilization. Summers are not long enough, there is always another email to answer, family and friends live too far away and die too young. I want more, yet I am learning to live and love what I have here and now.
As I look over my life, I know there is always enough time if I choose to be present and live fully. I remember visiting my extended family in California during summers as a child. We were greeted at the airport by my Grandma (my mother’s mom) with love and wet kisses quickly followed by the statement that she wished we could stay longer. I completely understand and know this sentiment, and it always bothered me as a child, as a teenager, and now as an adult. I am right here…please be here with me. Time as finite does not exclude the infinite number of moments and experiences that are available to me when I am fully present in my life. Since time is finite I also realize that I want and need to be present to each moment. Life, mine and yours, is so precious I choose not to fret about not having enough time.
I hear the encouragement of the final lines of the Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
By Paul Galvin