Do you hear the timer ticking?

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

There is a time when you realize with certainty that there is a timer on life.  I can’t tell you exactly when one starts to hear it ticking, but be grateful when you do.

We all come face to face with our own mortality. My brother died at a relatively young age from a terminal illness.

Like many, he was forced to face his limited time.  John knew what he wanted to do in the months he had left. As an engineer with a list for everything, he worked hard to complete his tasks and leave this earth to see what was happening on around the bend.

The longer we live we slowly come to accept that we all have a list to complete:  people we need to see, things we need to say, and truths that need to be told.

Dan had a heart attack last week. He and his wife are my age and graduated with me from LaGrange High.   

Richie, same age, same class, is recovering from cancer.  Whit had a devastating fall a few years back but, thankfully, survived.   Patsy, another classmate, passed away before our last reunion.

I could keep telling you about friends that barely made it or those that did not, but the pages are just not long enough. The older we become the more we notice the timer as it clicks closer to zero.

Now, that all sounds dour and full of doom, right? Well, maybe, it is all in how we look at it.

I like the timer. I am glad I see it, hear it, and realize that I need to live fully in the seconds that pass.

When I was in high school with Dan, Rich, Whit and Patsy, I never saw the life clock.  Time was infinite in my mind.

When several friends sadly died early in life, I would pause and ponder about my own mortality.

Then life would return to busy mode and the sound of the ticking clock would fade away.

For many of us, as time passes the more we long to see the precious people that have taken up time in our lives. There is an intense desire to share with those we love the depth of that love and how important it is to us.   

The seasons of our lives bring changes.  I wish I could spend more time with my children now that I have a bit more freedom to do so.

However, they are in the busy season of life and their timers are hidden somewhere under the clutter in their kitchens. They cannot hear the ticking because of the hustle and bustle of their daily lives.

I understand because I was once in that season.   

I also now understand my mother when she would ask repeatedly, “Are you coming over today?”

It was her longing to spend more time with her daughter because there was no longer clutter in her kitchen and she could hear the clocks sweeping hands.

My brother yearned to find his buddies from school, lost cousins, shipmates from his destroyer in Vietnam, and to spend his last days seeing the faces of his family.

When my son lay on a gurney with a broken neck, he held my hand and urgently told me his wishes as he quickly orated a will.  He saw the clock as the second hand moved at a rapid pace.

Thankfully, God intervened and gave Corey more time.

Life itself is a rapid movement. We often take it and the folks that are a part of our lives for granted. As we age or we are faced with the quantity of time we have left, we realize how special each second, each day, each person, each breath is.

I recall, as if yesterday, watching Dan laugh hardily at a joke in the hall at LaGrange High.   I know it was last week when Richie got me tickled in Latin class.

Wasn’t it just the other day that Whit was snickering about something crazy I did again? Did I not just see Patsy carrying her books and smiling at me as she strolled into class?

Isn’t it today that I find those folks and my memories of them even more precious?

Yes, I am happy to hear the timer.

I clearly hear the important noises of living.  I hear with joy the laughter of a child.  I reach with gladness for the freckled hand of an old friend.  I hear God’s whispers easily and more often.  I see fortune as a miracle and a simple coincidence as a gift.  Yes, I need to check the time, complete my list, hug those I love with gusto, and do so before I continue my journey on around the bend.

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell.