Ecclesiastes 3:2a – A time to be born, and a time to die. (NKJV)
On the seventh of June, I went to a funeral of a lady whom I have known for about seventy years. She had just celebrated her 105th birthday. In the order of service, there was a card with a poem written on it in her own handwriting. Her children had found it among the papers in her room in the Long Term Care Centre where she had spent the last couple of years of her long life. The poem was called "The Great Clock", and I found that it was a variation on a poem by Robert H. Smith. Obviously, the words spoke to the hearts of their children, as it did to mine:
- The clock of life is wound but once
And no one has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own
Live, love and toil with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow;
The hands may then be still.
A couple of family members paid tribute to her, telling the assembled congregation what a great lady she was, how hard she worked, and how kind she was to people. Her butter tarts were always in demand at church bake sales.
She was born in 1914, at a time when most country girls did not have an opportunity for advanced education beyond basic elementary school. As a consequence, she went to work at an early age. She held a variety of jobs, from caring for an elderly lady to working in a factory. She and her husband lived through the depression and the war years.
I knew her because as a very young teenager, I worked in the factory where her husband was the plant manager. All one winter, I worked in their home every Saturday, doing anything from minor repairs to painting all the rooms in the house. She was very kind to me, and I got to know her quite well. But as happens so often, when I grew up and went my own way, I saw her only periodically. I did see and speak to her children on occasion. Through personal knowledge and words spoken at her funeral service, I think that the words of Paul applied very well:
Philippians 2:3 – Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (NKJV)
I'm sorry that I did not stay in touch with her on a regular basis. She and her husband were so good to me.
Do you know of someone whom you haven't seen or spoken to for a while? It would be good to do that now, for tomorrow the hands of the clock of time may be still.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that we would take the time to be in touch with those people who have been important to us at some point in our lives. Give us the desire and the energy to visit those who are lonely or bereaved, and the opportunity through faith in Christ to be a witness to the people whom we visit. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.