Posted by: Debbra Dunning Brouillette | July 4, 2010

Ain’t it funny how time slips away?

There are lots of ways we talk about time. We kill time. We waste it. We make time. We lose track of time. We find it.

Time drags by when we’re waiting for something. Time flies when we’re doing something we love. And sometimes, like the song says, time just slips away…

We always want more of it.

We say we want to live a long life, because we want more time…to be with our loved ones, to do things we enjoy, to travel to places we want to see, and to become all that we want to be.

You may have heard it said that no one on his/her deathbed says, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” To the contrary, many who find themselves at the end of their lives express regret that they didn’t spend more time with their families, or didn’t say “I love you” enough.

So, maybe we should take a good look at the time we have now – the days, weeks, and months that we are filling up with “life.” Maybe we should evaluate how we are we using this precious gift that Barbara Sher has called “the only wealth we’re given.”

We’ve all seen this quote: “Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” Although now a bit overused, it’s so true, as are most well worn adages:

“Time and tide wait for no man.” This ancient phrase, which can be traced back to the year 1225, means no one, not even a king,* is so powerful that he or she can stop the march of time or be in control of the tides.

The desire to harness time, to hold onto it and stretch it to its limits has always been and will always be. We’ve heard it expressed in modern day songs like “If I could turn back time” by Cher and “(If I could save) Time in a bottle” by Jim Croce.

Does anyone remember the 1961 Broadway musical, “Stop the world – I want to get off?” That’s what I think of as I watch everyone rushing around to get more done within the 24 hours of the day. Who wouldn’t like to step outside the time domain for a while and just “be,” without an agenda?

But all the wishes and “if onlys” won’t make it so. God is the only one who has the privilege of existing outside the strictures of time. After all, He invented it, and gave us in His infinite wisdom, 24 hours to do all we need to do: work, play, eat, pray, love (there’s a book title in there somewhere!) and sleep.

How many parents have watched their sons or daughters graduate from high school and wished, just for an instant, that they could watch them grow up all over again?

How many of you have wished you could have had more time with your mom or dad while they were here?

Do you wish you could spend more time with your kids, or your husband, but can’t seem to win the “battle with busyness?” As Michael Althsuler says, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” If you know a situation needs changing, get in the cockpit and fly that plane!

All that we can do is be aware and remind ourselves daily of time’s precious fragility. Like a flower that blooms and soon wilts, time is ours to be used, to be filled with memory-worthy moments, and to be cherished.

I leave you with quotes on time by others that may inspire you even more to think about how you are using your “24 little hours.”

Henry Van Dyke — Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

Henry David Thoreau — 
You cannot kill time without injuring eternity. Thoreau also said: — It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?

Samuel Smiles — Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.

Jack London — I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a briliant blaze that it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

John Randolph — 
Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.

Sir John Lubbock — 
In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.

Mary O’Connor — 
It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.

Benjamin Franklin — Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

*King Canute (995–1035) was the king of England, Denmark and Norway. The story has it that he commanded the tide to stop. Most people thought he was being arrogant and presumptuous. According to the original story though, he knew he couldn’t stop the tide and was trying to demonstrate to his subjects the limits of a king’s power.



  1. So true, time flys when you are having fun!


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