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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sand in the Hourglass

Sad news today.  Andrew Breitbart  is dead at the very young age of 43.  He was a tireless champion of truth and fighting against the liberal media propaganda machine.  But....this post isn't really about Breitbart.  There will be plenty of people who can recap the life and importance of what Breitbart has accomplished and what his work means to all of us.

This post is about something that I and my husband have discussed and have been thinking about more and more as time goes on.  All around us we see friends and family getting older.  Sometimes with grace.  Sometimes not, railing against the enviable and denying the reality of age.  We see our friends and family facing failing health, failing minds and eventually death.    

We see ourselves.

We are all born with a certain amount of sand in our hourglass.  We have been allotted just so much time here on earth.  What happens after the sand runs out?  Who knows.  Doesn't matter.

What matters is what you do and how you act now.

It is obvious to us that at the ages of 62, that there is now more sand in the bottom of our hourglass than there can be remaining in the top.   How much sand?  Who knows?  We may have just a few grains left.  We may have many more years of sand to enjoy. 

One thing for certain is that the sand in the top of our hourglass is worth more to us NOW than it was 50 years ago.  In those days the sand was something we didn't think about.  There was an endless amount of sand to be wasted and frittered away.   

We didn't appreciate the meaning of the sand in the hourglass because it was full on the top. 

Now that the sand is running out, every day is a treasure to be appreciated.  We don't have the luxury of being oblivious to life.     Wasting the remaining grains on meaningless anger.   With people you don't like.  On drudgeries that can be avoided.

I plan to use my remaining sand on the little, peaceful things that make me happy.  Spend my grains of sand by being with people that I love. 

Enjoying the activities that may not be changing the world or impacting society.  Just appreciating that each day and each grain of sand is a precious gift. 

Today: I will read a book.  Bake an apple tart with the remaining summer apples from the trees in our orchard.  Throw some grain to the quail in the snow and from my office window, watch the woodpeckers and great northern flickers enjoy the suet squares in wire baskets nailed to the trees.  Perhaps finish a knitting project and peruse my craft books to plan the next one.  I will call a good friend who is in assisted living, because tomorrow, her sand may run out.

I will enjoy cocktails and dinner and conversation with my husband.  Snuggle together under our warm down comforter with the cat trying to sleep in the middle of the bed while it snows outside.

I will be thankful that we still have some sand left and appreciate every grain.


  1. I preferred the season in life when my friends were graduating, getting married, and starting families. This season isn't as fun.

    There are some deaths that are like mule kicks. I recall one about five years ago. A guy who went to our church. We were buddies, but not particularly close. My business partner's wife called me at work and simply said, "Mike's gone."

    He worked construction, fell off a house he was building. He appeared to be fine, was joking about his injuries, and what a pain the recovery would be. Then, he slowly slipped away. His oldest son was with him. Gut-wrenching.

    Another one was my kids' gymnastics coach, Brad. It was the morning of close friends' wedding, and Brad was the best man, his fiancee--the bride's sister--was the maid of honor. He had an asthma attack and his fiancee found him. We were in shock. Went ahead with the wedding. Didn't know what else to do. What a tangled mess of emotion.

    Can you tolerate one more? A NC Highway Patrolman came into my restaurant one snowy night. He looked like Jack Nicholson and had a gravely voice like you wouldn't believe. I made a remark about the weather and the wrecks he might have to work that night, wishing him good luck out in the mess. He cut me a look that would wither John Wayne and said, "Son, when it's your time, it's your time," spun on his heel and walked away.

    Your right, DBQ, enjoy the few remaining grains we have. Like Warren Zevon said, "Enjoy every sandwich."

  2. I am thankful for your sand, DBQ.

  3. It's always a shock when someone dies in the prime of adult life, especially one as full of life as Andrew Breitbart. It's also a reminder that no matter how good we may look in the mirror, how good we may feel, death is a feature of life. We all die sometime, and we delude ourselves into thinking that 'sometime' means 'later, not now'.

    I'm beginning to sound like the older people I used to chuckle about when I was young, bullet proof and had no time horizon. Perhaps that's because I'm now one of them.

    My father's mother, my beloved immigrant grandmother, used to end every conversation with a hug and big happy "Ach, next time you see me I'll be dead!" We all chuckeld about it for years, decades even, but then it became true.

    It's a blessing to come to grips with our mortality. It gives us time to make sure our loved ones know how greatly loved they are, to set right harms done earlier in life, to pray, and to be once and for all in the moment, while there is still a moment left.

    I used to fear dying; I no longer do. It's the last, great adventure.

    1. I used to fear dying; I no longer do. It's the last, great adventure.

      Yes. I learned this from my husband and his attitude towards death. He had a near death experience, long ago, before we knew each other. I may expound on this in a later post.

  4. Sorry MammaM and Windbag. Your comments got caught in modertion.

    There ARE some deaths that are like mule kicks.

    I had a friend who had a daughter just 4 months before my own child was born. For several years both families were like relations. The children played together like sisters.

    Suddenly at the age of 30, when the girls were 2 1/2 years old, Lisa died suddenly from a siezure while driving her car and ran into a tree on her way to work. I thought...THIS could be me and my child would be motherless and never know who I am.

    Ever after that....every day and every moment was somthing to be treasured.

    1. Friends of ours have a new daughter-in-law. She was married to a cop. Had three kids. He answered a call for a domestic dispute at a gas station, arrived on the scene, and was gunned down immediately. One of the kids was a two-month old infant. Our friend held her during the funeral, loving on her. They were life-long friends with the widow's family. Flash forward about three years, and their son married the woman. Who would have guessed that they were holding and comforting their soon-to-be granddaughter?

      The children's loss--to me--is the greatest tragedy when a young person dies. I'm sorry about your friend Lisa.

  5. Now that the sand is running out, every day is a treasure to be appreciated. We don't have the luxury of being oblivious to life. Wasting the remaining grains on meaningless anger.

    But don't you think that last bit was what did him in?

    Serious question. The human heart is only meant to tolerate so much stress and a certain kind of anger can really take its toll.

    1. Perhaps. But was his anger meaningless?

      I mean look at the things that he accomplished with his anger. The people that he made a lasting impression on and who are ready to continue with his work.

      I know you may not agree with his work or his cause, but that doesn't make it meaningless.

      Yes. Stress can shorten your life. This is one of the reasons that I decided to cut my career as a financial advisor short. Too much stress and too much worry was literally causing me to not be well.