There Wasn’t Enough Time
There wasn’t enough time. There were only two days to draw rainbows and not even one night to count the stars. If I had known about the ending before I picked up the book, I would never have started reading it. But it was a sunny day and the yellow in the rainbow was as vivid as the swaying corn on that August day when I found stars in my coffee. I stirred and stirred but the stars didn’t go away so I added some sugar and then more stars appeared. As I watched, a hole appeared in the bottom of the coffee mug and the stars spilled through, sprinkling the floor with their magic. I followed and all the colours of the rainbow wrapped me round.
Red trees with crimson branches lined the road as I travelled onwards. In every leaf was a vein of love. I could hear the heart beat. My legs were walking, the tree stood still, but the movement ensued. Facing changes at every turn in the road, I could see the confusion as the colours merged one with another. If I could just stay focused then the purity would return and my way would become clear, but it didn’t.
Blue rolled in on a crashing wave, covering everything with emotion. Tears and screams were louder than the foam as it bubbled and frothed to whiteness over everything. There wasn’t enough time to save the children. They all turned blue.
There were times in my life when I should have found the time to do something but I didn’t. I regret them now but I am still doing it; like the time when my friend Kath had just lost her husband. He died suddenly from a heart attack and left her bereft and uncertain in life. She never got the chance to say goodbye to him. One afternoon I left work a bit early in order to go down to town to collect a pair of glasses, which were ready for me. As I made my way to the bus stop, I saw Kath walking towards me. If I could have turned tail and gone in the other direction, I would have, because I just didn’t have the time to speak to her right then. I knew that if I stopped and spoke, I would miss the bus and the next one would get me to town too late and the shop would be shut and I would be disappointed and have to go to town another time. There was nothing for it. I stopped, smiled and passed the time of day with Kath but she was having none of it. Out came the whole story about how Jim had died suddenly etc. etc. I already knew the story and the details but I just had to listen to it again because she wanted to tell it to me. After a little while, I began to start moving from one foot to the other.
“I have to go now, Kath,” I heard myself saying. “I will miss my bus if I don’t. I’ll come and see you next week. You can tell me all about it then!” but I didn’t go because deep down I didn’t want to hear the story again. There were other things I would rather do.
I left her with a disappointed look on her face as I rushed to catch the bus and get to town in time. I have never forgotten that look.
The sky exploded in red when the planes arrived in New York on 11th September. None of us alive today will ever forget that day in a hurry. There were towers of hate in the minds of the people who did that. Red was for sorrow that afternoon as I sat at my computer at work and watched it happen. Straight away, what did I do? I emailed my son, who was living in Paris, France, at the time. My email read:
“I love you, I love you, I love you so much.”
He lived right by the Embassies and I really thought that the campaign of horror would travel round all our capital cities. There wasn’t enough time to give him a hug but I could email him, so I did. I have never been so glad of email as I was that afternoon. I thought if we were all going to die then at least he would know that, far away as he was, he had my love.
As a newly wed couple, Jim and I had a flat to look after. It had two bedrooms, one of which we used as a dining room for entertaining. Entertaining was top of the list in those days but when Jim’s parents asked us round it was a case of…
“We can’t come this weekend, we’re entertaining. Oh yes, and we’re decorating the bedroom. It looks ever so nice. The wallpaper is…”
In my colouring book of life the walls were purple with orange geometric flowers dancing all around the room…
Looking back at when our children were small, I realise that I really didn’t have the time to do anything other than look after them. Somehow I managed to be superwoman and fitted into my day a lot more than I do now. I got them all ready on a Sunday morning to go to church and we went every week, not just once a month. I was really proud of that but it came at a cost. The cost was that I was so tired at the end of that Sunday that I didn’t have the time to give to my husband that which he deserved and needed!
“Shall we have a cuddle, darling?” he would say to me.
“I haven’t got time. I have to get the boys bathed and into bed. Maybe later.” I would reply.
Does it sound familiar?
I turned another page of my book and there was the envy of green. Every car, which sped by, was a brighter shade of green but none could match the green of the grass beneath my feet. That grass, which fed so many beasts, there wasn’t time to cut it.
When my boys were small, life was hectic. We played together in the snow and the rain and in the sunshine too. Life was full and I was happy, never happier. But – there wasn’t enough time to notice that my mum was getting ill. She couldn’t walk properly and I didn’t notice, I expected her to be there for me but was I there for her?
Later on the boys went to school and there wasn’t a spare minute. As soon as they got home on a Friday afternoon, I took their clothes off them and stuffed them into the washing machine. They had to be washed, dried, ironed and ready for Monday morning – oh yes, and mended. There were always holes in the knees. Christmas came round more quickly each year and there was so much to do. They had grandparents and aunties and uncles to buy presents for them but after the holidays were over and it was time to write the thank you notes – they didn’t have time.
“Oh mum, do we have to do it now, there’s a great film on TV. Can we do it after that’s finished?”
All three of them went to University. How we found the money for that I’ll never know. It broke my heart when we took them on that first day and I had to do it three times! I couldn’t wait till the end of the semester so I could go and visit them but when I phoned up…
“Sorry mum, you’d better not come this weekend. I’m going here or there, wherever. There isn’t enough time to have you this week.”
Now the children have grown and left home (at last, only not holding breath, they could be back at any minute). I have time to do all the things I didn’t have time to do when they were at home, or do I? Time to do more for other people – I’m working all week. Time to help the grandmother – I have to clean my own house. So what do I do all day, I ask myself. Where do all those hours go?
We are all running through life, chasing time, hurried, jostled, overburdened, frantic and we never seem to get where we are going. I never do all the things I want to do. It seems as if God has made the days too short. He must have made a mistake in His calculations. The hours are too short, the days are too short, and our lives are too short.
Hurrying onward, I see an orange sunset and as the sun disappears behind the waves, I heard a hissssssss. I smile as it cools itself in the water.
Tomorrow is a new day. With a rainbow of colours I am making myself a promise. If God gives me another day, I will use it wisely. I will not waste it. It is a gift but a gift, which will not keep. I have time, plenty of time, all the time, which God has given me.
I have the years of my life and the days of my life. They are all mine to fill, quietly, calmly but to fill up to the brim.