Of all the songs I’ve written, I’ve had the most positive reaction and feedback to this one called , ‘Make time for love’, which has this to say:
You’re too busy, counting all the ripples in the sea,
Running round in circles needlessly,
Making all those plans so easily.
And you’re swimming,
floundering in a whirlpool all the time,
Racing like a fish to catch the line,
While the grains of sand are falling
in this hourglass of mine…
Make time for love, make time for love
You’re too busy, thinking that by rushing here and there,
Power’d by highest motives built on care,
That you’ll achieve perfection, climb the stairs.
And your children, all like buried treasure oh so rare,
One day soon will not be waiting there,
And the sand within the hourglass is descending through the air…
Make time for love,
make time for love.
There’s a hundred, a thousand things in life still to be done,
But all these things just can’t be done by ‘one’
So still the racing clouds… and see the sun,
Catch the blossom, now before it gently fades away.
Smell its perfume let it have its say,
Who have you neglected in your race of life today?
Make time for love, make time for love. :]
©1993 Sheila Hamil (used with permission)
My husband, Bob, who has a wonderful connection with his former pupils through Facebook, once read a post written by one of them, who worked as an engineer in the Merchant Navy, and was away for months at a time, while his young son was growing up without him there.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve packed my bags,” this young man had written, “and am about to leave my lush little family again for three months. I’ve been with my son every day this leave, and it’s breaking my heart to leave him just before his first proper Christmas, however, his first Christmas would be canny s—t with now to open, so I’ve got to go and earn some money!”
Later on, the same person, Marc, wrote that he was trying to decide whether or not to accept yet another job, with a better salary at sea or apply for a land job.
So my husband wrote this message to him, and he attached a video of ‘Make time for love’:
‘I don’t usually do this kind of thing, but I thought this might be appropriate when making your job decision. My wife, who led a very busy life, wrote this song. Many of us see our own lives reflected in it. As you were saying you can’t get the years back. If you think I’m ‘out of order’ please ignore this message, all the best Bob.'”
And Marc wrote back,
Bob, I don’t know what to say, I’ve been moved to tears mate. Thank you, I’ve actually made my decision, it was one that was super easy to make. I missed almost all of my son’s baby life, and cannot repeat that in the toddling years. The first line of that song about counting waves… is so apt. As a sailor, I often sat on the deck, looking out to sea, thinking of home. Beautiful Bob, and very thoughtful.”
This exchange of words taught me a lesson, too, on hearing my husband describe my former lifestyle as ‘very busy’.
At one time, not only was I a wife and mother, and daughter to an elderly mother, but at the same time I was a teacher as well as being a non-stipendiary priest. I can honestly say I never paused for breath from morning until late at night.
Who was I neglecting in my own race of life? Was I catching the blossoms and enjoying the fragrance of my own family? Were many of my own priorities wrong? After all I reasoned, wasn’t I doing God’s work? Had I achieved a good balance between work and home? No, I hadn’t, and all the while the sands of time were being steadily poured out, and there was no gathering up of the grains.
I’m sure God was speaking directly to me, when I wrote down this song, particularly in the image of that chorus.
Many of us, especially in ministry, can get our priorities wrong, and casualties can be found strewn all around us through our neglect of family and friends.
I’ve heard of a priest whose children had abandoned faith, given what its demands had done to their parent. I knew another who ended up having to write the word ‘meeting’ in his diary each Thursday, to ensure time off with his family, away from demands of his congregation.
Life is surely about getting the balance right between work and rest.
Despite the many traumas and challenges of lockdown, despite the horrendous tragedies that have occurred this last year, I think we’ve also come to see that it has, without a doubt, been a positive time, too, with many heroic deeds being accomplished by the NHS and key workers, great acts of love and kindness being shown by strangers, and an increase of neighbourly communication.
For me, in our ‘enforced isolation’, it has not only been the most creative period of my entire life, in the videos I’ve been able to create, but also in the memoirs I’m writing about my life and faith journey, but more than these I have also discovered that my husband is my best friend.
And don’t we all now have a real craving for those tight cuddles we once enjoyed as parents, grandparents and friends?
It’s so important to make time for love, and seize every opportunity God sends us to love one another.
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