Monday, February 24, 2014

Time and Tide

Time and Tide
Time and Tide wait for no man!  I have known that phrase for many years and always wanted to find out who said it first.  Unfortunately, no one can be given the official title of ‘author’ of the phrase, even though several people try to take claim.

It was 3:45 am as I looked out the window of my rented cabin.  In the dark my view contained a red flashing channel marker, right out my window, and in the distance a white flashing marker; both indicated safe passage for the fishing vessels that paraded by from Westport Harbor, making their way to the Grays Harbor Bar and the Pacific Ocean fishing grounds.  One by one they streamed by with their red and green navigation lights burning and the halogen work lights on their masts lighting the way, like the headlamps of an automobile.  The quiet of the dark morning was periodically interrupted by the rumbling of several different diesel engines and the gentle but noticeable splash of waves on the beach, as each of their wakes announced their passing by on the path to the sea.

When the parade started, the tide was slack (that period between the outgoing tide and the change of its anticipated return) and the boats were headed to cross the bar before it became too rough.  The timing had to be right, or the boats would be tossed around until they had crossed, and the crews and captains would be put to work earlier than they wished. 

You see, no matter what time the fisherman leaves the harbor, slack tide is not going to wait for him.  The tide is going to begin its return and come against the outgoing current of the river, and the bar will become an unpleasant area of tossing and turning that causes some people to wonder why they took this trip. 

As I watched and remembered the many times I had piloted my boat towards one bar or another, figuring the timing so that the crossing would have minimal impact on equipment and crew, the old phrase came to mind once again: Time and Tide Wait for No Man.  This morning as I mentally reviewed my current life activities, I realized that the meaning of the phrase went far beyond a nautical ilk. 

I am a busy man with many activities.  While I will admit that I have reduced my activities to only those I really enjoy doing, it wasn't always that way. 

You see, regardless of what you may be doing, you only have a certain amount of time to do it in, so why not enjoy the time you have.  Another phrase that comes to mind is “Time Marches On”.  Whether you find time to complete your tasks or find time to relax, ‘time’ like the tide, doesn’t care – it marches on with or without you.

So now it becomes time for you, as it did for me, to accept that you only have so much time left in your life, and you have no idea how much time that is.  So make that secretly allotted time worthwhile.  One day we will all cross the bar between this life and the next.  Because we don’t know when that time will be, doesn’t it make sense to use your time prudently?

The medical profession has warned us about stress for years (although they don’t seem to take their own advice).  Stress shortens our life span, causes illness and generally makes life miserable.  The recommendations of eating balanced meals, getting more exercise and lowering the stress level, has been ignored by most of us.  The rise of depression, obesity, diabetes and other physical and mental maladies is the hallmark and soon the epitaph of our society.  I saw an article once where a person visiting a cemetery found a headstone that, under the person’s name, was a line that read “I told you I was sick”.  Someone had affixed a small placard below the inscription that read “You were told how to keep from being sick”. 
So what are the major incidents that cause most of our stress and its consequence illness?  How can we reduce or eliminate stress?

  • ·      Get some exercise!  Eat balanced meals and stay away from the constant diet of fast food!
  • ·      Don’t take a job that you will be miserable in; what good does it do to earn money and die because of it?
  • ·      Give up being angry toward those who may have hurt you in the past; all you are doing is giving them free rent in your mind.  Move on!
  • ·      One sided relationships are destructive; you can’t force someone to love you….they either do or they don’t, regardless of how nice and accommodating you are.
  • ·      Being there for someone all the time that isn’t going to be there for you, makes no sense.  Real friends are always there when you need them.
  • ·      Family should be important to you, not an afterthought.
  • ·      Everyone wants someone special in their lives; don’t settle for just someone.

There is so much more that we can do to establish quality in our lives.  You can find things that I may have missed.  Here’s what I am going to do; join me:
  • ·      Watching the boats gave me the inspiration for the change for my life, so I’m going to watch more boats, waves and beaches.
  • ·      I’m not going to get involved in anything that isn’t fun for me.
  • ·      I’m going to pursue my Ham Radio hobby more.  Talking to people all over the world is very relaxing.
  • ·      I have two granddaughters and three great granddaughters; I’m going to try to reconnect with the granddaughters and meet the great granddaughters whom  I’ve never seen.
  • ·      I’m eating better and exercising again.  I’m going to keep on until it’s time for me to cross the bar.
  • ·      I refuse to be involved in unproductive relationships or friendships
  • ·      I will not settle

I have no idea how much time I have left, but I do realize that ‘time and tide’ have no intention of slowing down for me.  So I’ll respect the framework and live within it, as long as God will allow me.  You can too, it’s up to you.