First Days Never Get Easier

A collage of

A collage of past “first days” (photos by Julia Ozab)

Today, Julia and I sent Anna off on the school bus for her first day of fourth grade. Each year I think it will get easier, and each year I’m wrong. It never gets easier. If anything, it gets harder as we watch her grow up before our eyes. Year after year, photo after photo. It all happens too fast.

Why is that? Why do the days and the years rocket past for us? Why is she in such a hurry to grow up while we want it all to slow down so we can hold on to each moment just a little bit longer before it goes?

Is it because she grows more noticeably? Or because we don’t want to face how we’re getting older, but can’t deny that she’s growing up? Or is it because a year for us who’ve lived for many seems so much shorter than for those who’ve lived before?

Michael Stevens at VSauce (one of my favorite YouTube channels) has an interesting take on the last question. Perhaps it has to do with how we naturally perceive time. (Warning: Math ahead!)

(Go back to 2:07 for some background on additive vs. logarithmic counting, or to 0:00 to see people with too much time on their hands).

So if this is the case, and we who have passed the “middle age” of 9(!) can only look forward to our subsequent years racing past us faster and faster until their inevitable end, is there anyway at all for us to slow the rushing train down just a bit?

Yes.

So if you want to slow time down a bit, go out and do something new. It’s the novel experiences that stick with us and make for richer memories and fuller lives.

I can think of someone that makes my life a whole lot fuller than it would be. Someone who helps me see the world through fresh eyes and re-experience familiar things with a new sense of wonder.

Someone who keeps me young.

Anna's first day of fourth grade

2015

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Praying With Your Fingers

Red hand print

Image via Google search

This is an easy way to help your kids remember their intentions as they pray.  Pope Francis used this memory aid with children while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and it has since caught on as “Pope Francis’ Prayer.” It’s also known as the “Five-Finger Prayer.” This version was edited by Father James Martin S.J.

  1. The thumb: The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember—your family and your friends. To pray for the people we love is a “sweet obligation.”
  2. The next finger is the index finger. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
  3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders: the presidents, kings, governors, mayors, and all those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
  4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, this is the weakest of all your fingers. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick, the poor, or those who face many problems. They need your prayers.
  5. Finally you have your smallest finger—the smallest of them all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are finished praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs, but in the right perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

Amen.

Laminated prayer card available via Paraclete Press.