(Adapted from the original by Jonathan Berkun)
A man goes walking deep in the forest pondering the meaning of life, “Are you there God, he calls out, Are you listening?” To his astonishment a voice from heaven responds, “Yes my son, I am here.” The man looks at the sky and asks God, “What is a million years to you?” God responds, My son, “a million years is like a second to me.” The man continues to walk and ponder and then he asks, “God what is a million dollars to you?” “My son,” God replies, “a million dollars is like a penny to me.” The man looks down and ponders a little more, then looks toward the heavens “God, can I have a million dollars?” “Sure,” God replies, “in a second.”
Benjamin Franklin said that Time is Money, but I think that time is funny. Whenever my wife wants me to know that she will do something quickly, she says, “It’ll only take two seconds.” Once I asked her if she actually knew it took 2 seconds to say “ It’ll only take 2 seconds?” She gave me one of her looks and I never asked her that question again.
I was recently approaching the check-out line at the grocery store...I chose what I thought would be the shortest line, it had the fewest number of people in it, each of them had the fewest number of groceries… What I could not have known was that the man in front of me in line had an item whose price rang up incorrectly in the register. It took nearly ten minutes for the manager to straighten it out. When I got home I didn't tell my wife that my trip to the grocery store took 10 minutes longer than it should have, I said it took forever.
We all have trouble telling time. We learn at a very young age that 60 seconds make a minute, 60 minutes make an hour, 24 hours make a day - but as we grow older, time plays tricks on us.
Sometimes it stands still, other times it flies away… but most of all it never seems to last as long as we want it to. If you still think that time is money, I'll show you someone who would spend all the money he has in the world if it would buy him one more day with a lost loved one. Time and money may both be valuable but only one is priceless and it is usually the one we only appreciate after we have run out of it.
Time is funny, especially when it comes to our age, we do not want to admit our age and most certainly do not want to look our real age.
Whether we use it or lose it, time catches up with us all. So, we spend our lives trying to control time. We do all sorts of things with it.
We spend time,
we give time,
we pass time,
we even kill time.
How we relate to time tells us a lot about who we are. If we are ahead of our time then we are a genius… if were behind the times we are passé, and if we are with the times, we are trendy, we are cool – and you know how hard we try to be cool.
Sometimes we want to know exactly what time it is. We want to know how much time has passed and we want to know how much we have left. And there are times when we just want to go with the flow. We don't want to be reminded how late it is, we don't want to think about how much time we have left, We just want to live our lives without feeling the sands of time slip through our fingers.
No matter what we may believe about this universe or about God or about life or death, everyone here believes in the power of time and yet it is something we cannot touch, we cannot see it, and we cannot feel it. We know what it feels like when we have it and we know what it feels like when we don't.
So the question we must ask ourselves today is a simple one, it’s a question we have heard a million times before, and the question is, “What time is it?” Most believe that there is only one answer to this question and it depends upon the rotation of the earth and the location of the sun and sky, but today, I will tell you that there are actually two answers to this question. They are both always right no matter what time of day it happens to be. When I first heard them, I realized that these two ways of telling time work not only at this time of year, but all year long - at any moment - whether the sun is shining or the moon is bright, these two ways of telling time will always be correct.
So what time is it? Open your table cards and pull out the card that is attached. IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK AND IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. These are the two ways to tell time. You don't need to look at your watch to tell you what time it is. You don't need to look at your watch to know that it’s later than you think. You just need to look at your children or your grandchildren and see that they have grown up in a blink of an eye. You just need to look at your spouse or your partner and wonder where all that time you spent together has gone. You need to think of your parents, how the years have taken a toll on them, or how long it has been since you last felt their touch or the warmth of their love. It’s later than you think when the days run into years and the years into decades. It’s later than you think when it feels like only yesterday we were kids. All of a sudden we're not kids anymore and another year is gone and we have no idea where it went. Its later than you think when this year’s resolutions look a whole lot like last year’s that we never got an around to doing. It’s later than you think when you realize that you could have accomplished more by now than you have.
By the age of 7 Frederic Chopin was already composing music. By the time they were 14 years old Bobby Fisher had become an International chess grand master and Mozart had written an opera. John D. Rockefeller started his company when he was only 19 years old… same age as Steve Jobs was when he began working in electronics, Mark Zuckerberg when he commercialized Facebook and Bill gates when he founded Microsoft. What time is it? It’s later than you think!
When all you want for your birthday is not to be reminded of your age, it’s later than you think.
When you hear snap, crackle and pop at the breakfast table and you’re not eating cereal it’s later than you think.
When the clothes that you have put away until they come back in style, have come back in style, its later than you think.
Our personal life clock is telling us that time waits for no one. We hear the alarm ring every morning and it tells us to do something productive with our day... before it is too late.
There is one way we can slow time down, one way we can be sure to have enough time to do all those things we want to accomplish. It is the second way we tell time. The first was, IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK. The second answer to, “What time is it?” IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.
The fact that we woke up this morning is proof that, it is never too late. Autumn is not simply a reminder of the harvest moon or a new football season. It is the gift of time.
So, we did not do what we had planned to do in the year that's passed - now we get a new year. It’s never too late,
So, we weren't the best person we should have been in the year that's gone, now we have a new year, it’s never too late.
No matter what time it is, it’s never too late.
If last year was a year of heartache and pain, loneliness and loss, it’s never too late to find comfort and strength, courage and hope.
If last year was a year of mistakes and missteps and misdeeds, it’s never too late to correct our path and straighten out our journey.
If last year was a year of selfishness and ego, it’s never too late to be more companionate and caring, thoughtful and kind.
If last year came and went and we never took the time to say I'm sorry, it’s never too late.
If last year came and went and we never made right that what which we did wrong, it’s never too late.
If last year came and went and we never fulfilled the promises that we made to ourselves, our families, our communities, it’s never too late.
A few weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins celebrated their 1972 perfect season with a trip to the white house, they waited 41 years to celebrate their championship this way. It’s never too late.
64 yr. old Diana Nyad successfully swam the 110 mile passage from Cuba to Florida after 35 years of trying. She finally made it despite the jellyfish, the sharks, the salt and the sun. Do you know what she said when she reached the beach? she said 3 things…
- Never Ever Give Up.
- You are Never Too Old to chase your dreams
- Is that life is Never A Solitary Sport – it takes a team.
Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa when he was almost 76, after serving 27 years in prison. It’s never too late.
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb when he was 84 years old, it’s never too late.
So, as this year comes to a close I leave you with 2 new ways to tell time. It may be later than you think, but it’s never too late.
Let this time of year serve as an awakening for us all to practice:
Forgiveness to ourselves and others for the past
Gratitude for the current gifts we experience each and every day
And Hope for a future that looks exactly like the ones you have seen in your dreams.
Dr. Brian Wallace