A few months after Zachary died, I was straightening up some things around the house when a wall clock that I was carrying fell to the wooden floor of our home with a jarring crash. When I opened my eyes to survey the damage, I saw that the battery had popped out, the wooden frame had cracked, and the glass has broken, leaving a jagged crack right down the middle of the clock face. Newly bereaved and with everything reminding me of my son’s death, the symbolism went straight to my heart:
My boy is dead; there is no more time.
I will never again have the opportunity to see him, hug him, or look into his eyes. I will never again be blessed to hear him laugh, stand next to him in church, or have the joy of watching him grow up. I can never again endeavor to help him, to show him my love, or to let him know how much he means to me.
Because of my deep grief and perhaps because I felt like punishing myself, I propped that broken clock up on my mantel for a few days. Without its battery, its hands were still – a fitting broken reminder of the dismal sorrow I endured each day. So many times since my son’s death, I thought my life was over. The future looked bleak and grim. Focused on his suicide and the heartache of it, I was certain there would never again be joy in my life. And whenever I walked by the clock, a sad, chanting sentence haunted my mind,
“There is no more time. There is no more time. There is no more time…”
One day at the store, I surprised myself by impulsively admiring and purchasing a new clock – an oval wooden beauty with a black frame and fancy italic numbers. At home, I quickly threw the cracked clock in the trash and then eagerly opened the new clock, popped in a fresh battery, and set it to the correct time.
As the clock jumped to life, I stared mesmerized by the second hand’s slow and gentle pulse. “Tick, tick, tick…” I stood thoughtful: Why, this clock almost seemed alive! It almost seemed to have a message!
“There IS time!” the clock ticked loudly and invitingly to me. “There is time for life! Time for love! Time for choices!”
My life wasn’t over! I had living left to do, pleasures to experiences, loved ones to spend time with, joys to relish! My mood lightened as hope reentered my life. What potential! What a gift! Think of all the hours! The days! The months and years!
Since that day and to my family’s humor, I have become quite a clock collector. I remain fascinated by the various ways to keep track of time and announce it’s arrival. Mostly, I have become keenly aware of time and like all people who have lost loved ones – I understand how precious time really is.
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting life is.”
We can spend our time mourning what we have lost or use our time – the best we can – to treasure what we still have. May the clocks in our homes remind us to use each day to invest in the lives of our loved ones as we gratefully appreciate our Heavenly Father’s good gift of time.