Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
Robert Herrick wrote those lines in his poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time." While he was talking about young women getting married as soon as possible, his message is appropriate for the rest of us too. We need to make the most of the time we are given.
This time of year is often a time of reflection, when people look back on the past year and think of what they might have done differently. We also make plans for the future - lose weight, be kinder to my family, not be late for work - and usually those resolutions last about a week after we make them.
But we can make changes with God's help.
This past year, Cornelia and I took a wonderful cruise to the Caribbean (you can read about in February / March archives) but some of the areas we visited were smacked around by the multitude of hurricanes we had this year.
I have been to New Orleans three times in my life, but Katrina made sure that the city I knew will never be the same.
But I have also made some new friends this year, and God has put some people in my life that I cherish. Cornelia and I have joined a home group at our church, and now we are good friends -- 2:30 in the morning friends -- with these people. And those relationships are getting deeper and more intimate. And it happened at a time when we were thinking of bailing, leaving for another church because we were tired of the routine.
A friend of mine whose son was in Afghanistan with the Army returned home safely in time for Thanksgiving. That was an answer to prayer - mine and his family's - and that was very encouraging.
But this year has been laced with tragedies as well. People have been swept away by tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes. And they will not return. Others have suffered the devastation of war and famine and disease.
So gather your rosebuds - the small ones that God brings by you every day -the smile of your child, the laughter of a friend, the warmth of a kiss - and savor them for all they are worth. Do not waste any of your spirit on foolish things that do not matter. Make your life count; for time is still flying for all of us.
All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever. (1 Pe 1:24, Isa 40:6-8)
These lovely paintings are by John William Waterhouse. Check out his fantastic homepage at: http://www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/