The Last Time Cometh, Soon

Sooner than you expect you will touch what you prize the most for the last time.

Sooner than any of us expects.

A friend not long ago tried to remind me we’re old.  No, I said.  Hardly.  The mountain view from my mother’s townhouse is old.  My great uncle Woody’s cowbell I recently found tucked in a box wears age — more than a hundred years.  It’s whittled and chinked by the swing of a long time.  My great grandmother’s butter mold, the same.  It still carries her fingerprints, I’m sure.  It outlasted her, far quicker than she expected, I’m very sure.

I am not old.  I won’t get the chance, if I live to match my Uncle Julius, who hit 103.  In the great exhale of the expanding universe, each of us amounts to hardly a sigh.  Not long for this mortal world.

So, I look around at all the stuff, masquerading as a harvest.  The watches and the house and the cars, all fun.  All not mine for long.  Every bit of it is chaff to the wheat of what matters.

I touch my mother’s hand and find it warm.  Same with the handshake and embrace of my best friend.  The slap of his hand to my back reminds me not to care about the next thing that catches my eye.  The watch on my arm will belong to someone else someday.  But the brush against those who love me as much as themselves — this reminds me to think less of what’s to come and more of what is.  The beautiful here, the gleaming now, the brand new that is the presence of those who eagerly share themselves.  They are extravagant.  And I must remind myself to be extravagant in how I adore them, right now.

I love a boat.  The trace of her hull under my fingers, the throes of her speed are bliss and peril at once — these are romance beyond the poets to me.  But she’s just a carriage.  Alone time, especially to the writer, is bliss and lonesome curse at once.  We all want to smile at those we adore and take a grin back.  The boat is but passage to such.  A temporary cabriolet to the experience of warm laughs, hands to our backs, the love of someone who could not care less how big the boat.

I will touch all this for the last time sooner than I expect.  Sooner than I want.  So, if I let myself linger in the bliss of now, forgive me.  Just making last what won’t last nearly long enough.  There’s happiness in being devoutly ever young in an old world.  Joy in refusing to cleave to the coming rust and canker of what we’re not meant to hold for very long.   The last time cometh, soon.  This is our calling, yours and mine — not from the future, but from here.  Now.

6 Responses to “The Last Time Cometh, Soon”

  1. Teach us to number our days … that we may gain a heart of wisdom . Psalm 90:12

  2. Jackie Tinsley Says:

    Well said! Beautifully written!

  3. Heidi Woody Says:

    Michael, I so enjoy your writings. They speak to me so personally. Thank you for sharing these very thoughtful messages.

  4. So very grateful. How kind of you

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