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Lynette Grandits, R.N.: Passage of time has given me new purpose

Undoubtedly, the days are growing shorter and the flowers of summer, now in full bloom, have reached their peak of perfection. Their scent stills, offering a sweet fragrance for the earth. Mother Nature begins to whisper her fair warning of what is to come. Soon she will adorn our landscape with the brilliant hues of autumn, in vibrant shades only she is capable of painting.

As in the lyrics of “Fiddler on the Roof”: “Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the years, one season following another …” The swift transition of the days into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years speaks to me of the too rapid passage of time.

It seems that the older I get, the more quickly time passes. It seems like only yesterday when spring flowers poked their heads through the last snows of winter, and now here I am mourning the close of my favorite season, summer.

As the glorious days of summer come to a bitter end, my grieving begins, first with denial and then ultimately a yielding to what I cannot control. Trying to halt the passage of time is as futile as trying to hold water in the palm of my hand.

I heard it said once that for some, summer is not only a season, but a sacrament. Surely it is a God-given gift, abundant in graces, truly rich in its capacity to invigorate and awaken the senses. The glory of this season, short but sweet, is its ability to serenade with its mystical music; the song of a bird, the babbling of a brook, the rhythm of the rain.

In pondering the change of seasons, I reflect on the real value of time. A recent sudden and tragic death of a young person in my family served as a harsh reminder that none of us is guaranteed length of days or the grace of growing old.

As a nurse at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, I have witnessed the quest to prolong life at an exorbitant cost. I have witnessed many valiant and courageous fights to hang on for just a little longer. I am amazed at how much the human spirit can endure as it clings to hope. I have been in awe at the power of faith and the willingness to persevere.

I realize how valuable time is, and it really must be if we all seem to desire more of it. Time is an elusive concept to grasp. Time is spent, time is wasted and time is saved. Time can lapse, time can stand still and time can fly. Time can heal. People can tell time, take time and keep time. A sign posted next to a clock in my high school said, “time will pass, will you?” Some people live on borrowed time and some people live serving time.

In just a matter of months, I will retire and my time as a nurse will come to an end. After spending 43 years of my life as a nurse, it is hard to let go of a career that has defined who and what I am.

As one season followed another in rapid succession, my baby girls became young women. I now have two little boys who call me “Grandma.” The passage of time has given me new paths and a new purpose. Like water in the palm of my hand the years have slipped away.

As in the musical adaptation of the biblical passage from Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” So, as the seasons of our lives change and time marches on, I again recall the lyrics from “Fiddler on the Roof”: “One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.”

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