I watched the sun come up over the Wasatch mountains. There is never a guarantee that the sun will come up, but we certainly expect the sunrise every morning as if it were guaranteed. We expect the earth to continue in its course as it has done for eons and produce a sunrise worthy of our wonder. We expect life to begin anew as the rays of the sun reach the spinning earth. However, sunrise is not guaranteed, but sunset is.
According to the World Death Clock - http://www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/world-death-clock.asp - over one hundred and six people die each minute. That means by the time you finish reading this blog, over two hundred people will have witnessed the sunset of their lives, depending on how fast you read. The passing of one person is nothing more than a millisecond. Like the passing sun in the sky, life, and death, march on.
Time. It is the one commodity doled out in equal measure – one second at a time. The rich, the poor, the young, the old, the diligent, and the indolent, are all allotted time in the same fashion. We cannot hoard it. We cannot preserve it. We cannot even slow its progress. We can, however, waste it, kill it, and squander it. Time is a running river of fresh water into which we can dip our cup over and over again, but we cannot regain the drops that have passed us by and hurried on their way downstream. The clock marches on offering the same valuable commodity to everyone in equal measure.
At sunset we can look back on the day and wonder where the moments went. We ponder how we spent the fleeting seconds, the hurried minutes, and languishing hours. How did we spend this perishable capital doled out in equal measure to everyone? Did we waste the waking hours slumbering on soft pillows? Did we greet the noonday with promises of enterprise only to be distracted by some fleeting folly? Did we charge forth into eventide and pour our energy into some passing fancy that will not be remembered for a week, much less a century? As the sun raced across the sky and sunset approached, what did we do with the one perishable commodity that we will never recapture? Sunrise is not guaranteed, but sunset is.
I have often said that if I had the power to pass one of my developed skills on to my children, I would pass on to them the skill of time management. It is a skill that has taken me years to hone, and I still feel like I could squeeze a bit more out of the minutes that are mine. I could still make better use of the rare commodity doled out in equal measure. The young, it seems, think that time is in abundance. The old can feel the clock ticking and can sense the closing of the day pressing in. Yet in truth, time continues its steady flight, unchanging, and waiting to be utilized instead of just endured, or wasted.
My finite mind cannot comprehend the eternities – a place where time is no longer measured. I cannot comprehend something without a beginning, or an end. Perhaps that is a good thing, for now. It keeps me focused on the seconds, minutes, days, and weeks that I am blessed to experience. It helps me drink in every moment, cherish every sunrise, and grieve at every sunset. I am a mortal man, and my time is measured. I cannot afford to waste those precious drops from the river of time as it hurries by. I must dip in my cup, and drink deep, and often.
What will I make of today? Will I do something that will be remembered for a week, a year, or maybe a century? Will I use my fleeting moments in a way that makes the world a better place, or will I indulge myself and squander those passing rays of sunshine on simple pleasures or frivolous pursuits? When the clock strikes the hour of my passing, and my sunset has arrived, will I look back and wonder what I did with my time, or will I stare into the past and see a tapestry of accomplishment woven from the seconds I harnessed utilized in good works?
Each day we have the promise of sunrise. Each day we have the promise of time, that precious commodity doled out in steady measure. What will we do with that promise?
Sunrise is not guaranteed, but sunset is.