Time is Like a River


The older I get, the less I take time for granted. I read a quote once that said. “Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.” As I get older, it seems that life marches on at an ever increasingly rapid rate of speed. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly. It makes me think of the Bible scripture in the book of James that says life is as a vapour that appears for a little while then vanishes away. (James 4:14) I can remember back to the days of my childhood, and how anxious I was at times to grow up and be able to experience the “freedoms” of adulthood. Isn’t it funny that when we were kids, we didn’t realize how good and easy we had it? Little did we know at the time, adulthood has a multitude of responsibilities and challenges that we never had to worry about as kids. Back in those days as a child growing up, knowing that I had to wait a year or two for something seemed like an eternity. Can you remember back in your pre-teen years how anxious you were to be old enough to drive, or go on your first date? As a child, time seemed to creep; as an adult, time seems to pass by so quickly that I find myself wondering where the years have gone. Even as I write this, I am preparing to travel to Florida to attend the college graduation of my oldest son. When I think about that, it seems impossible that the boy that I held in my arms for the very first time outside the hospital nursery almost twenty-five years ago is now about to graduate college!

I began to reflect on the subject of time as it was spoken of in the quote comparing life to a river. The more I thought about the words of that quote, the more truth I was able to extract from it. As I thought about it, I started thinking in terms of the river as representing my life as a whole, and the flow of the water as the moments of my life. As the quote so eloquently expressed, the “flow”, or the moments that have passed will never pass again. Thinking back to the experience of holding my oldest son outside the hospital nursery for the first time, I am reminded that it was a moment in time that I will never be able to experience again. There are many moments in the course of a lifetime that we will experience that are truly those “once in a lifetime” events. Events such as the birth of a child, your child’s first steps, the high school graduation of a child, …you get the picture. These are all moments or “water” that will never pass in the rivers of our lives twice. Sadly, for most of us, we underestimated the significance of those moments at the time that they happened, and would give anything to experience them again. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, time waits for no man.

As I continued thinking about it, I was finding that all of my reflections about life as a river, and the moments of time that I had experienced, had to do with personal experiences, and how they affected me. I came to the realization that I was unconsciously reflecting on the question of how the waters that will never pass again, or those irretrievable moments if you will, have affected my life. The more time I spent in reflection, the more time I found myself wondering how much the flow of the waters of my life… those moments of my life that will never pass the same riverbanks twice, have affected the lives of those around me. My mind then went back to the analogy of life as a river. Rivers twist and turn, shaping the environment around them just as they are shaped by the existing physical geography of the surrounding landscape. The flows of rivers over hundreds and hundreds of years have changed the land around them through erosion. The flows of rivers over long periods of time have literally sculpted many of the world’s beautiful landscapes into what we know them as today. I can’t help but ask myself how much the flow of my river, or in other words, the moments of my life, have contributed to sculpting and affecting the landscape around me. The landscapes that have surrounded the river of my life have been the people that I have come in contact with, and those that have been exposed to the flow of the waters of my life. I wonder to myself how much my life has contributed to sculpting the landscapes (people) around me. I believe that God places people in our paths in life for a reason. Some people are in our lives for many years, and others are a part of our lives for just a short time, and then they are gone. Whether we realize it or not, just as a river cuts, shapes, and changes the landscape around it, our lives mold and shape the lives of those that dwell closely to the banks of our river. I am blessed to have a wonderful Pastor at the church I attend. Pastor Daren is one of the most motivational and insightful leaders I have ever known. I remember Pastor Daren once saying that people tend to evolve and be shaped into a composite of the five people that they surround themselves with the most. If you can think of the five people that represent your closest friends…those people whose company, advice, and support that you cherish the most; then you can see a composite picture of yourself. The rivers that you dwell beside determine the shape of your landscape. You become like the people you associate with.

The question I would like you to ask yourself is, how is the flow (moments of time) of the river of your life affecting the landscapes (lives) around you? If we want to be surrounded by friendly, loving, compassionate, and inspiring people, we have to strive to retain all of those qualities in our own lives. Just as the quote tells us, the flow that has passed will never pass again. Realize as you go through life that you will never get a second chance at making a difference in a specific moment of someone else’s life. Seize every moment as an opportunity to be a friend and to make a positive difference in the life of someone else. For the other person involved, they will never have those waters pass by them again, and neither will you. Make the moments of your life count.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,




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