SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

The Clock and The Calendar are Brutal and Relentless

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Blog, Family, Memories | 1 comment


…they stop for no one.

I heard that statement earlier this summer as an introduction to a sermon and I noted it, thinking I could use it some time. Well, today is my birthday! What better time!

…but let me digress for just a moment…


The first day of October brought the promise of a cold, wet fall with nothing but the dread of a long and frigid winter ahead. The wind created a ripple of grass-waves through the long, unkempt hills of the bunkers and rattled the thin windows where the soldiers slept. Yet, over the blustering noise engulfing the army barracks, roll call could be heard by any passerby… 


“Sir!” A young private stepped forward and saluted, then stepped back.


“Sir!” Another salute.

“Warford. Warford!”

“He’s not here, sir,” a nervous private responded.

“Speak up, soldier!”

“He’s not here, sir.” Although louder, his voice trembled.

“Not here? What do you mean, ‘He’s not here’?” The sergeant’s voice bellowed throughout the barracks, glaring at the other men who stood at attention by their cots, staring straight ahead.

“His daughter was born today, sir,” the young private continued, “and…and he went home to see her, sir…to Toronto…on the train…sir.” The young soldier quivered under the threatening eyes of his sergeant.

Seconds passed before the damning words broke the silence.

“Absent with out leave,” the sergeant growled, then turned on his heels and disappeared through the open doorway.

Saying good-bye in April before going overseas.


Now, I’m not sure if that’s how it actually happened, but I do know that my father went AWOL the day I was born, hopped a train from somewhere near Debert, NS where he was stationed and came home to me and my mother. He was there for one day before returning to face what, I suppose, could have been a court martial. Fortunately, it was not. In April the following year, he was given a week’s leave before going overseas to fight in World War II.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Maybe even material for a great novel! However, until I walked the very grounds where my father was stationed the day he went AWOL—and, ultimately, to Italy six months later—it was always just that…a story.

Debert, Nova Scotia is a place I have never taken the time to locate on a map…until two weeks ago. Enroute to PEI, I took a detour to visit the small town I have only heard about, to visit the place where life changed for hundreds of men and their families in the early 1940s and to visit the place where my father spent time training for war.

How can I explain how I felt walking the deserted and neglected fields, feeling the wind blowing through my sweater and looking with frustration through the window of a locked door? All I can say is strange, almost surreal. I gazed over the many acres, imagined a multitude of what-ifs and took a ridiculous number of pictures and a few short videos to show my brothers and sister. And as strange as it may sound…almost bizarre…I thought for a fleeting moment, Dad will want to see these. Dad’s been gone since 1967. Eerie feeling…that thought!

Where am I going with all of this? Maybe because it’s my birthday…I’m  not sure, only that it felt both weird and wonderful that, after all these years I was in the very place my father was the day I was born, walked up steps he would have walked up and perhaps stood in front of the very bunkers he trained in.

There is something about the events that centre around one’s birth that might cause one to pause and reflect on life. I know I did…and here I am, not just another day older, but another year. I’m reminded of a poem my Uncle Vic wrote in my Guest Book back in the 1970s: Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. Sweet rhyme isn’t it? But it has a profound meaning.

We are not promised tomorrow. We are only given today and we should aim to make it count…for Christ. Two days ago I spent an hour with Chris, a friend who, just days before, became a member of the family of God. Just days ago! She is close to meeting her Saviour and wanted to be baptized. I was honoured and privileged to baptize her and watch her face smile through closed eyes at the knowledge that heaven is not far away and she is ready.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Sure the clock and the calendar can be brutal and relentless, but it’s what we do with the time we have that counts.





One Comment

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  1. Heather

    Beautifully written and full of His truth.

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