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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Celebrate the gifts of this hour

Celebrate the gifts of this hour
Time never stops moving, so take a few minutes to celebrate the things that make life feel full.

I don't know how old I was when I was first introduced to Henry David Thoreau's admonition "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life," but it must have been fairly young because it stuck to me in the rudimentary way of childhood when you accept fully the premise of a thing, when you swallow it down wholesale and it becomes you.

As a result, I've spent my entire life in a state of mild anxiety, constantly aware of how poorly I am living up to the command to live deep. In fact, I waste whole days without sucking any marrow at all. I want to live a purposeful life, one that smacks of satisfaction and an assurance that God's plan guides it, but mostly, if I'm being honest, I'm just getting by.
Recently, I tore through all seven episodes of the latest Serial Productions podcast, S-Town, a serially broadcast radio program about a depressed horologist (clock repairer) living in a small backwater town in Alabama. 

Among his many obsessions, the horologist collects sundials. Sundials, he explains, all have mottos that are depressing in nature. A few examples prove this: "An hour passes slowly, but the years go by quickly"; "Look at my shadow and you will see your life"; and "All hours wound, the last one kills." My personal favorite, the one causing me pain as the sands in the hourglass of this summer furiously sink, reminds me of Thoreau: "Take the gifts of this hour."

I don't know what it is about summer that makes time feel more precious, but it cuts me to the bone more than any other season. Maybe it's because the majority of my family's birthdays are in the summer, mine included, making the marking of time more acute. Or maybe it's because summer is falsely sold as a languorous and time-lush season and yet it never is. Or maybe it's because I have three children with tan necks and freckled arms who slap their sprinkler-soaked clothes just inside the door before rushing off to the next delicious activity of our popsicle-dense summer life. Whatever the reason, summer's speedy and temporary nature is painful for me and trying to suck the marrow from it or "take the gifts of this hour" only makes it go by more quickly.

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