www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Dress for safety -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Does losing due process create inadequacies? -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Hate crimes -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

On with the prom -4/15/2014, 8:57 AM

Newman proud to be in western Kansas -4/14/2014, 8:57 AM

Waiting on revenue estimates -4/13/2014, 8:57 AM

Wake up, people, and see the danger we’re in -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Patronizing paychecks -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Stripping of teachers’ due process worrisome -4/13/2014, 6:11 AM

The Kansas Ministry of Truth -4/13/2014, 6:14 AM

Letterman, Hillary and Jeb: 21st Century symbols -4/13/2014, 6:10 AM

Expensive school bill -4/13/2014, 6:12 AM

How to assist evil -4/11/2014, 9:15 AM

Taxing life away -4/11/2014, 9:12 AM

Lying about Obamacare -4/11/2014, 9:17 AM

The talk radio party? -4/10/2014, 11:04 AM

Term limits -4/10/2014, 11:06 AM

Let's do what we do best -4/10/2014, 11:05 AM

Satisfying the court -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Late-night funding fight -4/9/2014, 10:44 AM

‘Farmland’ — art is life on screen -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Tradition not changing -4/8/2014, 12:02 PM

Flat as a pancake -4/8/2014, 11:22 AM

Willing to take a bet -4/8/2014, 11:24 AM

Exposure to violence threatens children’s future -4/8/2014, 11:23 AM

Battling MS -4/7/2014, 8:58 AM

Why Renewable Fuel Standard matters -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Rites and wrongs of spring -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Coming to terms with Brownback -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Are 'religious viewpoint' laws needed in schools? -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

School non-funding -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Sex and race equality -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Rest of the story -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Bank on USPS to save 'bank deserts' -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Gambling and government -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Not merely water under the bridge -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Federal fine -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Twister time is here again -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

School funding battle continues -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

Watching for the flip-floppers -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Will Hays enter the 21st century? -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Tax breaks -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Happy birthday, Gloria -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Unequal voting -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Protecting the pollinators -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Parties, politicians and seeking an advantage -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Healthy aging -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Threatened chicken -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

As temperatures rise, pay attention to stored grain -3/30/2014, 3:49 PM

Bizarre arguments and behavior -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

In your dreams -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

Against the wind -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Discovering the salt of the earth -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Entrepreneurship key to economic growth -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Get ready for Arbor Day -3/26/2014, 2:03 PM

Reading between the lines -3/26/2014, 2:02 PM

Switching parties -3/26/2014, 1:53 PM

Putting a price tag on damages -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Privately piercing, serious sacrifice -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Autism bill passes House -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

United stance -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Legislative session getting down to the end -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

Taxation bill involving livestock successful -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

STARBASE Day hits Topeka -3/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Judging based on accomplishments -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless? -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Fly Hays -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

Learning from the candidates -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

hedy -3/21/2014, 1:12 PM

-3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Fred Phelps -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Is There Wage Stagnation? -3/20/2014, 9:58 AM

Cost of living, wages don't add up -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

Legislative proposal raises questions -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

No vote on war -3/19/2014, 3:32 PM

Wonder of St. Fidelis -3/19/2014, 4:01 PM

Protein for breakfast -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

A pointed comment on guns -3/19/2014, 8:57 AM

Campaign madness -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

Counting the cost of Kansas' Medicaid expansion -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tax-relief spells a sure vote -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tourney madness -3/18/2014, 9:25 AM

St. Patrick's Day -- The value of Irish humor -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Not all things are bad -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Supreme Court takes Legislature to school -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Parochial education -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Governed by rules, not men -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

More guns: Merrier or scarier? -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

The war on women -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Labeling the education can -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Taking exception -3/12/2014, 2:03 PM

Choose wisely in today's society -3/12/2014, 2:02 PM

Budget concerns -3/12/2014, 2:01 PM

Courting judicial changes -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

House now on home stretch -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Value of bitcoins -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Medicare trouble brewing -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Kansas must change direction to lead -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Time is a river -- strong is its current

Published on -2/22/2013, 8:39 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

"Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away." SEmD Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. 121-180 AD

My sister Betty Jacobson phoned last week from her assisted-living apartment in Pauls Valley, Okla. She was exuberant.

A picture postcard with a 4-cent Abe Lincoln stamp had arrived at the still-current family business address where she once worked. It had been sent to her 46 years ago, with a photo of the insides of the Old Country Store Museum, Hereford, Pa.

In his best cursive, her son had written, "Mom, Hi. We've been having a great time, and this card is a picture of where we visited. It's real nice and the man told information on antiques. He said our old things we found like axes are worth lots of money. Love, Bert."

The card had been mailed from Bryan, Ohio, 43506 -- 560 miles on the way back home.

In January 1967, Bert's father, Gayle, and his uncle Dean had taken him and his cousin Terry on a train ride from the Sooner State to Pennsylvania. The quest was to buy two new ready-mix concrete trucks and drive them home. But first, there was an hour-and-a-half bus trip from Hereford to New York harbor to see the Statue of Liberty. It was a special time. Maybe, more than we commonly recognize, all times are.

That same January was our first Super Bowl. PBS-TV was brand new. That month, astronauts White, Grissom and Chaffee died in a pre-launch space-capsule fire. The Smothers Brothers were getting set to open on CBS. Vietnam war opposition was getting louder. And 13-year-old Bert Jacobson sent a postcard to his mom.

Dismiss it all as nostalgia if you want, but maybe we should pause more often to contemplate some of what we've seen, touched and tasted of this life -- perhaps to recover new significance in what passed so quickly or routinely that we hardly noticed. And now it's lain buried in our brains until poked with a long-lost postcard.

How did John Lennon put it in his song "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," written to his 5-year-old son Sean, recorded in September 1980?

"I can hardly wait to see you come of age

But I guess we'll both just have to be patient

'Cause it's a long way to go. A hard row to hoe

... But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street, take my hand.

Life is what happens to you

While you're busy making other plans."

Just weeks later, on Dec. 9, 1980, Lennon was fatally shot four times in the back by a man for whom hours earlier he had graciously autographed an album.

Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher. Stoics believe having wisdom means living free of emotion, whether joy or sadness, and not ruled by pain or pleasure. Aurelius would not have advised wasting time in nostalgia. He wrote "bear in mind also that every man lives only in the present, which is an indivisible point and that all the rest of his life is either past or uncertain. Short then, is the time which any man lives."

Live, he counseled, in the now.

We find stoicism also in Ecclesiastes, an Old Testament book often attributed to the wise King Solomon but probably wrongly so. The passage most are familiar with -- especially at funerals -- begins "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die." A more modern expression might be, "We can't escape the realities of time. Be wise and accept them."

The Stoics advise us not to sweat the small stuff. But other philosophers tell us life is more about the small stuff than we appreciate -- things that in our busyness, too easily escape our attention. And the curtain falls while we're making other plans.

Well, nostalgia isn't quite the right word. Nostalgia implies not just an understanding and appreciation of previous experiences, but a sentimental wish to relive them. It's reflection or reconsideration we want. That's not a waste of time if it calls us to more thoughtful living in the now.

In the case of a 46-year-old postcard miraculously coming to light, we can all be reminded of the undying love between parents and kids and shout hallelujah. And we can lift a Lenten prayer for love waiting to be rediscovered.

Bob Hooper is a fourth-generation western Kansan who writes from his home in Bogue.

celtic@ruraltel.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos