The Inevitability of Time

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春曉 - 孟浩然
春眠不覺曉,處處聞啼鳥。
夜來風雨聲,花落知多少。


If you're 25 years or older, I'm sure you will agree that time appears to pass ever more quickly as you age.  I'm 36 years old now and half my lifetime ago was about the time I started university.  Seriously?!  I still remember those days so vividly that it must have not been more than a few years back, right?  As I write this, I still cannot fathom how quickly the latter half of my life flew by.  The first 18 years of life felt terribly long.  If I were to give it a subjective ratio, it would probably be somewhere around 3:1, where the first 18 years felt about 3 times as long as the last 18 years.

Long Summer Days
I will bet that all of us remember those long summer days as kids.  The 2 months of summer holidays just seemed to last forever and ever.  I have fond memories of my brother, Eric and I, playing endless hours of video games (was it Zelda II?) when it was too hot to go outside.  How I reminisce those carefree days when our biggest problem was figuring out how to get past those stupid armored knights in the game (if you're wondering, the trick is to have full health, jump and shoot a dagger out and then attack his feet at the same time...but I digress)!  Nowadays, summer is almost over, and I still haven't gotten used to writing the year "2015".  I remember sometime last year, I accidentally wrote "2012" in my notebook...I kid you not!

Spring Morning
So, to the Chinese poem that started this post.  If you're Chinese and have studied this poem, read on.  If not, see this link for a rough translation.  Having moved to Canada when I was 8 years old, I'm impressed I can even read all of the characters in this poem!  Aside from the content, this poem exemplifies how efficient the Chinese language is.  The poem is made up of merely 20 characters, and yet, there is so much depth.  I guess this is why this poem made it into the famous "300 Tang poems".

I don't claim to understand this poem fully, but I think I've got the jist of it.  It is a little funny, however, that most sites I visited talks about the poet's love for nature and springtime.  My interpretation is much different.  But as my English teachers of the past tells me, there's no right or wrong in literature...so, please don't correct me if I'm wrong! :)

In any case, I think it captures perfectly the subtle melancholy that I feel when I reflect on the passage of time.  When we are young (springtime), we see no need to treasure the time that we have here in this world (waking up after daybreak).  We're captivated by the busy-ness of this world (birds singing).  Before we know it (storm in the night), years have passed and we find ourselves spending the last days of our lives (flower petals on the ground).  How very sad!  Let this poem be a warning for all of us of the brevity of our lives.

I also found this video below.  It's beautifully made and similarly, it captures the melancholic feeling very well.  Note the duration between the candles.


There's Hope
There's a saying about parenting, "Don't blink or they'll grow up!"  I've surrendered to the fact that yes, my kids will grow up too quickly (maybe that's why we keep having them).  It is simply a fact of life.  I try hard (maybe not hard enough) to create as many memories for my kids as possible, but it's almost a lost cause.  Between the day-to-day obligations and activities, it leaves little time to really enjoy each other.  I always feel rushed to get here, go there, buy this, do that...I'm simply a hamster on a very intricate wheel!  But alas, there is hope.

What hope is there?  There is always but one source of hope and it is our Lord.  He tells us, "In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be" (John 14:2-3).  It's not in this life that we will ever have enough time to spend with each other, but the next.  The day I welcome my kids into the gates of heaven (God willing!) will be the day when they truly get the time they deserve of me.


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