I was warned about this, by a good many people, all of them smarter and better-versed in such things than me. I was admonished and advised, persuaded and pushed, cajoled and counseled.

Time flies. Whether you’re having fun or not.

Those sweet little babies jump right out of your arms and start walking. The bumbling little toddlers gain confidence and sturdy legs and run away to their own adventures. The grimy children, soaked in perspiration and cookie crumbs, wiggling to get out on their own, grow taller and more graceful, quieter and more mysterious. The sulking teenagers, embroiled in drama and confusion, go away to their own lives. The young adults, who seem to know everything but have nothing but doubts inside, find their vocation.

Time flies. No matter where you’re standing.

Summertime comes in, luring you with reading lists and children freed from the bonds of school. Then, before you have even taken a good deep breath, you notice a hint of orange on a row of trees and realize that school starts in less than seven days. Those summertime helpers are going to be put back to work, and you will have to adjust all over again. In marches autumn, in a shout of color and fashion and delicious smells. Routines are established, bedtimes go back to normal, days get shorter. Football and festivals and bonfires, oh my! Slowly, the weather forces you to shut up the house and turn on the furnace for good, pack away the screens, and pull out the wool sweaters for good. And then it’s winter! Time for school breaks and holidays and a new year. Time to wish for spring…which comes quickly with slushy melts and budding trees and hope in the air.

Time flies. Whatever you gauge it by, whatever your frame of mind, whatever your view.

And when you stand at the end of that long tunnel of time, what will you have to show for it? Will it be the investment of your time or the wasting of it that you find yourself contemplating?

The reality of this has struck me thanks to the children in my life. Those children, who softened my hard old heart and made me see how much fun summer could be. Those kids, whose laughter has filled my days and whose small hands reach out for mine without looking back. In the span of something like six weeks, my nieces, nephew, and daughter are very different people. They’re a whole summer older, for one thing! And, standing taller than them, gazing over their tousled heads to the horizon as the sun sets, I can’t help but say thanks to Mother Mary and thanks to my Father, for giving me this gift of time, time which is not my own, time which is as passing as the cool summer breeze coming through my window.