It has been said that time is the true teller of things (and people) that really matter. After all, things or moments or people that withstand the test of time – those are the keepers.
A few weeks ago, I realized I’ve done something in my life for the first time: I lost track of time. I don’t mean I let a lazy Sunday go by after floating on a self-made raft of mimosas and pancakes. I mean I stopped counting all of the years, months, weeks, and days it had been since monumental things happened in my life.
In general, we’re obsessed with numbers. We keep track of everything – not just the time on a clock or the days of the week; we have holidays, anniversaries, countdowns, and remembrances. We count calories, calculate bank accounts, and even track the steps we take.
And until recently, I kept track (mentally) of everything. How long it had been since I talked to him, or how long it’s been since I kissed someone; how long has it been since I’ve had a drink; when was the last time I ate red meat…blah, blah, blah.
But what about, when was the last time I just lived my life? Had a blissful moment? Took a second to relax? Told someone I loved them?
Keeping track of the moments or things that don’t really matter, is exhausting. Perhaps, enough time has put a distance between the moment and my memory, so much so, that I’ve all but forgotten the dates and reminders of the things that essentially broke my spirit. And I’m happy to let that go.
This weekend, news from my hometown served me a different reminder of just how precious time is. A woman who attended school with many of my friends lived her last moments in a tragic accident.
She, Jackie, was the type of woman we all wished we could be. Although my conversations with her were limited, I can say with complete confidence that she was sweet, selfless, intelligent, and bright. She was beautiful inside and out, and I know she had an overwhelming love for animals, and for her husband, Michael.
The moments leading up to the sad news seemed like forever. I stayed awake, on the phone with friends, as we hoped and prayed that this would end with Jackie at home, safe. I know we all wanted answers, but now, I’m certain the world could use more time, more days filled with her bright light.
When I suffer a loss, I immediately feel this sense of time and how little we have of it, and the pressure is on to rearrange my priorities in order to fill my time with moments I can look back on with pride and happiness.
Sadly, I’ve felt this pressure twice in just a few weeks – instead of prioritizing, I’ve spend lots of time in tears, moments asking why, and doing anything I can from afar to comfort those in pain.
I don’t know the moments that may have awaited Jackie; her hopes and dreams, but I do know she used her time wisely. She loved purely; she smiled a lot, and she spent hours upon hours caring for animals in need. In these last few days, her close friends and family have posted so many pictures of her with bunnies, dogs, friends, family, and her husband.
She was here for a short time, but her kindness made this world a beautiful place. For those that knew her, I truly think we’re better for it; she has a spirit that will withstand time, and may very well inspire us to use our time here a little differently.
I know I get caught up in the day-to-day madness, and when that happens, I lose sight of the bigger picture. There’s a reason we’re all here; a reason why things happen; and a reason why some of us have slower clocks than others.
For those who knew Jackie, I know the days ahead aren’t going to be easy. I’m wishing you strength and peace. Because of the nature of Jackie’s story, there were questions and speculation. In all honesty, there are some answers we may never get.
But what I do know is that we can honor our lost loves by loving even more; by giving more; by sharing kindness; and possibly by simply showing up – making time for those we care about. I know that’s something I need to get better at.
None of us know how much time we have left, which is why it’s important to make every moment count. But I’m not down with all the counting and numbers, so here’s to simply living with purpose, and doing so beautifully.
If I ever get around to living, it’s gonna be just like I dreamed. I’m gonna take the love I’m given, and set it free.
If I ever get around to living, I’ll take the end of every day and tie it up to every morning, and sail away.
-John Mayer, If I Ever Get Around to Living
If you’d like to make a donation in Jackie’s honor, IndyClaw Rescue is where she helped so many fur babies. May her sweet legacy live forever.