Years ago, I read this poem in Linda Dillow’s book Calm My Anxious Heart.
It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.
It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.
It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect.
I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired but it was middle age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over but I never got what I wanted.
The author of this poem, (a 14 year old boy!), has no idea how much his words have touched my heart over the years.
I recently re-read it, and again the inherent wisdom spoke to me deeply. I think of days gone by when I would wish time away – wanting to get past diapers, past busy kids schedules, past homework, past teen social issues, past stressful work, past conflict, etc. The older I get however, the more I want to squeeze all that I can out of each day – regardless of what it holds. Perhaps it’s because I watch my mom whose life is now defined by the second to the last line of this poem; she definitely longs for the presence of her mind, which is deteriorating as limitations are increasing. At 89, her life is drawing to a close, and I have to wonder, did she ever get what she wanted? Even though she has lived a full life, like so many of us, she has tended to live for tomorrow, looking for “when this is over” or “when this will happen.”
Lord, teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) We do not know what tomorrow brings, but we have today to be thankful for and wholly present in.
I am reminded of the song “One Day, At A Time Sweet Jesus”