It’s been a summer. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating the graduation of my twin daughters. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were traveling to Georgia to celebrate the marriage of my oldest niece. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were sailing down the interstate to come back to Texas so that we could unpack our suitcases, pack them once more, and sail north on the same interstate to Dallas to catch a plane to London. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were traveling with 35 other people from around the globe in a whirlwind trip through Western Europe. And though it seems like just a few weeks ago, it now seems like an eternity ago. Time marches on.
Earlier this year I was lamenting the inevitable that was to come at the end of the summer. My daughters, born two minutes apart and together for 18+ years, would part ways and leave home and begin new lives in two different cities. They would begin a new chapter known as the college experience. I was thrilled for them to have this wonderful opportunity, proud of their choices and the work that they have done so far in their lives. But I lamented, nonetheless, the loss that I would experience as they left home. And yet, at the beginning of this year, it seemed so far away. But time marches quickly.
I returned from my travels ready to be home. London, Amsterdam, Munich, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, Paris and La Grange, Georgia, were wonderful places to visit, but three weeks is a long time to be gone. We saw cathedrals and canals, a basilica and an abbey, the Louvre, the Rhine, and lots of pictures of trees taken from the window of the speeding tour bus. We experienced different languages and different foods, trying desperately to remember which day it was and what time zone we were in. We tasted the delicacies of French bread and Austrian pastries and relished the here and now of distant cultures most of us had only read about in books. And yet, like the miles in America and the kilometers in Europe that continued to click by, time continued to march on.
We came home and my daughters promptly left again. Four days after arriving back in the states, Rachel got back on a plane and returned for mission service in Ukraine. Kylie left just a few days later for a week of college orientation at Baylor. Both girls were out of reach of communication, whether by service coverage or mandated silence. Jan and I experienced a trial run of the empty nest. It was much quieter and slower for those few days. We filled our time with work and play. But soon, the week came to a close and the girls began to return. And the college countdown kicked into high gear. Three weeks plus a few days and the nest will be empty once again, this time for a much longer period of time. I find myself watching the calendar. Time is indeed marching on.
I got my cuckoo clock back from the repair shop this past weekend. It has returned to the wall in the family room and is restored to its normal status. The clock, over 100 years old, runs without any power, except for the weights that hang below the clock. It runs on balance and gravity. Its ticking has always been a soothing sound to my soul, the small bird a joy to listen to as it marks the passing time. Indeed, time marches on. The clock reminds me every day.
Am I sad? No. At least not yet. I have experienced the slower pace of the house and I’ve decided it’s going to be nice. I’m grateful for the celebrations and memories of the summer; we’ve had some great ones. But time marches on and it will until the last blast of the trumpet. And then time will be no more. Until then, I cherish the days I have and pray I live them to the fullest. I pray that I’ve instilled that in my girls as well. Only time will tell.