“We spend too much time cursing time—time waits for no man, time will tell, oh, the ravages of time, time flies! We don't think about the gift of time. Time gives us the chance to make mistakes and correct them, to regenerate, to grow. Time gives us the chance to forgive, to restore, to do better than we have ever done in the past. Time gives us the chance to be sorry when we fail and the chance to discover in ourselves a new heart.”
Anne Rice (The Wolves of Midwinter)
One of my grandfathers lived to the age of ninety-one. He was good grandfather to me—affectionate with his words and funny—but he'd treated my grandmother, and after her death, my mother, badly. He was demanding, and not always kind in the way he requested assistance. To be honest with you, he was mean as a snake to the women who tried to serve his needs. He once threw a plate of food at my mother because she had brought something other than what he'd requested. She watched it whiz past her head, and smash on the wall behind her, making a terrible mess. Without saying a word, she turned and walked out, leaving him to clean it up.
I always thought God allowed my grandfather to live ninety-one long years to give him time to clean up his act—to grow kinder and less bombastic. He didn't. In his final years, at a nursing home he had chosen for himself, he stole a female resident's bird feeder, and put it outside his own window, he shoved an old woman's wheelchair so hard she face-planted into a wall, and he slugged his roommate—which got him summarily thrown out of said nursing home. He was, as we say down here, “a piece of work” right up to the end. I expect he'll get to do another round or two here in the earth-school.
Time is not the enemy. Long life gives us opportunities to make a difference in this world, to correct the mistakes we make, and to restore broken relationships. It gives us a chance to grow gentle. We surely don't want to end up like my grandpa.
In the Spirit,