Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Slice of Life

by Ann Cavera


A friend once offered a reasonable explanation of why time seems to gain speed as we grow older. She said, "Think of it this way. Life is like a pie. When we're five years old the whole pie can be divided into five big pieces. As the years go by, we have to slice our pie of life into smaller and smaller pieces. By the time we're 65, the same pie is being cut into 65 thin slices and those slices keep getting smaller every year."

No wonder we find ourselves asking where January went. Here we are standing in Lent, and the days are quickly slipping away. It's a struggle to get everything done when life slips through our fingers like sand.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our twin granddaughters' 11th birthday. When they were born 11 years ago, we could barely tell them apart. As far as time went, their "pie" was still uncut. In the space of these few years, they have developed very different personalities.

One loves gymnastics and turns cartwheels in our house. The other likes gymnastics, but loves to create with paint and clay. Both continue to be amazing and precious beyond words. While their pie is cut in large slices, we keep trying to figure out ways to stretch our thin slices so that we can spend more time in their company.

Perhaps none of us can appreciate the value of time until it becomes scarce. At our age, even our "long-range" plans now look ahead only five or 10 years instead of the 20 or 30 years we counted forward in our youth.

Currently, we are trying to make the best use possible of this little sliver of time called Lent. Gone are the Lenten seasons where we vowed to spend a large number of hours each week in spiritual disciplines or never to slide into unhealthy patterns again.

In fact, Lent now comes around so swiftly we usually just try to remember our unfinished business from last year and pick up where we left off. Basically, for us Lent has become less about frantic doing and more about letting go. It's enough if we can hold on to whatever gains we made last year and make a little progress.

Perhaps part of surrendering ourselves is about surrendering our time, too. As we surrender our ever-decreasing bits of time to the great scheme of God's plan, we become more connected within his larger picture. No matter how thin our slices get, when we can keep the perspective of being part of infinity, the size of our slice matters little.

How thin have the slices of your life become? Sometimes it seems as though our slices are thin enough now that if we hold one up to the light, we can see eternity on the other side. 


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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.