Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying. Robert Herrick
Mr. Herrick, although he was writing in the 17th century, had a message to which many of us can still positively respond. The symbolism for the ephemeral nature of roses and youth is far from obscure. But I believe that each of us has a method of interpretation by which this passage can take on significance.
To me, it’s a reminder about waste. Wasting time is more than squandering money. If I have misused my time and effort, I could have been using it on something useful or constructive or worthwhile. Ultimately, this is why I choose to invest my time in educating. When I focus my energy on disseminating knowledge and life lessons, I feel that my hours are spent on the most relevant recipients of any wisdom I possess.
The avoidance of time dissipation can and does apply to many of our ongoing activities. How useless is it to complain and screech about others who have wronged us in some way? Generally, they are unaware and unconcerned about our dismay, as in the case of road rage. And if they do become aware of our reactions, what good is derived from that knowledge?
When we model this behavior of timeliness to those who seek our guidance, we accomplish two major outcomes. One is to demonstrate the need for prioritizing all that we do for the sake of efficiency, effectiveness and depositing good into the universe. The second and less obvious is to maximize the enjoyment that we derive from our short voyages through the beauty and brilliance of life. All of the petty grievances and distractions deplete that journey instead of amplifying it. Shalom.