I love the title of Al Stewart’s song, Time Passages. It describes so well the amazing gift of time that we have on this earth.
My dear mother passed away in early January. A parent’s passing is always a defining moment in a person’s life. My mother was blessed with time. She was 96 when her time came to pass on. Although she had been afflicted with some type of dementia for several years, she was still cute, sweet and at times downright funny.
However, it wasn’t always so. Helping to write her obituary, I realized a lot of things about my mom and ever since her passing, there have been conversations with siblings about her life and reflections on what she accomplished in life. One single life on this earth is so complex and so precious. Each life has a myriad of experiences to go through and so much to learn from those experiences, taking each lesson learned on into the next experiences.
Mom had a lot of challenges in her life. She had a fairly controlling mother, eight children and not much money. She lived through the depression years, World War II and the shocking 60’s when all societal rules seemed to fly out the window. She spent hours dealing with her own mother when she herself had small children to take care of as well and later, when her father and her mother-in-law were old and needy, she spent all of her days caring for them and taking care of those needs.
My mother was an overcomer. She met all of those challenges with grace and dignity. Sometimes she had reactions as anyone would, but she did what she needed to do without complaint. As we were writing our mother’s obituary, we realized that we couldn’t make it so flowery that she would seem to be a saint from the moment of her birth. It wasn’t that way. It never is, right? Isn’t it more real, more adventurous, and more challenging to have a life long parade of situations that, through the passage of time, shape our nature?
Mom always had her own personality, but her character developed as she aged. She became more patient, a better listener, more concerned with others. As those qualities increased, others decreased: less anger and less worry.
Enhancing the positive qualities and diminishing the negative ones is what this life’s journey is all about. We are all born with issues and we all encounter troubles along the adventurous road of life, but what an exquisite testimony there is when one of God’s children is at the end of their journey here, giving those who knew them the opportunity to look back at all the hardships along their route and to witness firsthand the growth of God’s life in that person. What a solid evidence, sure and positive, that we can do the same in our lives. Our situations may be different, but we have the same potential that they did.
When we witness a wonderful life, we don’t have to stand far off and feel dismal about our own existence. This person was an ordinary person, just as we are, and he or she began his/her life with the similar challenges and similar skepticism about the possibilities of ever changing them. Because we, like them, are born into the human condition, we too can allow our circumstances to mold our character and improve those things that require either a bit of touch up or a major overhaul. We too can experience time passages and watch God’s handiwork in our lives. Day by day, step by step, we come up a little higher and when time has finished its passages in our lives, hopefully others will say of us that we were overcomers and will, in their time, find inspiration to do the same in their lives.