When I was a child summer vacation from school lasted four years…or so it seemed. Running and playing in the woods near our home, riding bikes with Kent Tovey my pal, swimming in Terrace Lake; summer was an almost endless journey in the halcyon days of my youth.
These days, it seems like we had cookouts every weekend, the Four-H Fair appeared to last a month and we went to the fair every night. Pick up baseball and basketball games were on every corner…and; especially in the 1960’s, going OUT to eat was like…OMG!!!! Even then, “going out to eat’ meant Frisch’s or even more rare…going to “Lotus Gardens” in Greenwood Indiana.
Then, when school began, it seemed that school lasted four years as well. Days seemed to go slowly, the clock ticked once every five seconds it seemed. Teachers spoke like Charlie Brown’s teacher…”Wha wha wha, wha wha….WH WHA wha wha!” As a Catholic kid, I tried to make other kids laugh while they were standing in line for communion…’cause they’d get in trouble from one of the sisters if they were caught giggling. I was a troublemaker, but then, so were Steve Deppe, and Terry Harper and Kirk Long and Don McGuire, partners in crime…all. One day in elementary school lasted approximately 3 days back then. The sun; not having much to do, would stand stationary for two hours in the morning right about during reading and it stood still for 3 hours during math class.
Around 7th grade, something peculiar happened. Days began to move a little faster. A bell would ring and then I noticed the clock ticking pretty much every second…but a second back then was longer of course. Maybe the teachers got prettier…or maybe I just noticed them nore…well, Mr. Hughes didn’t get cuter, but…well ‘nuff said. However, it began to move into a regular 24 hour day by the time I reached High School. Summer vacations got shorter and less adventuresome.
By the time I had grown up enough to have a family, days had begun moving at a much faster clip. I recall one day was only 6 hours long….don’t bother to contradict me…it WAS only 6 hours long and that’s when I knew that God had been hiding something from me…from ALL of us! He had been hiding the fact that life was actually a fleeting thing and that we had better make something of ourselves during the short time we have here.
I didn’t think that was quite fair, hiding this information from little kids all that time. By the time you grow up enough to realize that eating six hot dogs quickly was a bad idea and that picking your nose wasn’t socially acceptable, you had three kids of your own and the guy running the Tilt-a Whirl at the Four- H- Fair was some creepy carnival dude who smoked too many Lucky Strikes. You wondered how in the world your parents could have dropped you off to roam free in the midway with all of the strange people on the loose.
These days, my days last approximately, 20 minutes. I eat breakfast at 3 am, lunch at 10 and dinner at 3:30. My wife seems to just get home right before I wind the alarm clock, brush my teeth and get in bed. This is why people get old quickly. God turns up the speed of the earth as you get older and you age 30 years in six months. Your tiny grandchildren yesterday are running for Congress today, and in 20 minutes they will be bouncing a grandchild on THEIR knees while you will have been dust for 20 years.
Such is the rhythm of life and as you contemplate that, also consider this…if you could stretch a rope 5 hundred yards in front of you…so that you stood on one end of it and could barely see the other end, the life you now live would only take up one inch of it. That’s right…one inch. 80 years maybe? One inch, or even less, and then all of the decisions you made in that one inch would determine what you would experience in the other 500 yards. The problem is, the rope isn’t only 500 yards long…it goes on for eternity. The decisions you make…concerning Jesus, concerning how you treat your neighbor, concerning who is most important in your life RIGHT NOW…will determine EVERYTHING. And the earth and the Sun seem to be moving faster still.