Our Race with Time

By Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay  •  November 23, 2023

On November 23rd, this year, I will celebrate my 92nd birthday with the same words I’ve been using for the past few years: “Where DID the time go? What did I do with the three hundred and sixty-five days and nights I’ve just completed. What did I learn? How am I different from the person I was a year ago? “ 

And I usually sigh and say, “I need to write about this!” My heart and spirit need to become highly intentional about these questions because they speak of life and change and spirit and courage which represent the special tasks we discover in the closing years of our lives.

I am distracted by the current and frightening state of the world. With the world at war again, we have traded the accomplishments of past years with present day destruction and violence. We need to re-discover the gifts of old age as we are immersed in the new tasks that await us.

The New Tasks for Our Closing Years

So what ARE these new tasks that attract our energy and our passion?  What are the gifts of old age that appear as we approach life’s ending?

My world is now a small two room apartment overlooking an open space of grass and trees.  I live in a community of fellow travelers enroute to a new destination that awaits each of us.

I have become aware of the fact that even though I live in a “community of others” I am spending increasing amounts of time in the “company of myself”. Whereas before I would always seek connections with others, now my spirit wants to collect the evidence of changing realities as these appear in my own life.  

Before, my life was governed by accomplishments and growth opportunities.  Today, I am opening my inner doors to where my spirit is leading me.  My receptivity to each day is determined by my willingness to learn the new lessons that life and heart are teaching me.

A Call to New Beginnings in a Season of Endings

Each day is a call to new beginnings.  But this time, we begin our task in a season of endings.  And it is sufficient to know that within these coming holidays we will find a world of new life and new beginnings as we experience the reality of life’s new endings.

Our race with time becomes a lesson in reality. We are on a journey of endings as we discover our new beginnings. We turn inward to discover the constancy of our outer worlds.  We are steeped in traditions and longing for new experiences. We put up ornaments of the past and discover new meanings in the present.

And time, that elusive controller, allows us to let go of the present and enter the  to-be-discovered future.  

Praise God! Amen.


For Reflection (either individually or with a group)

 Read the blog. Read it a second time, maybe reading it aloud or asking someone else to read it aloud so you can hear it with different intonation and emphases. Then spend some time with the following questions with  anything that helps you reflect more deeply.

  • Has your thinking about aging changed as you have moved into your 50s, 60s, 70s and older? If so, how?
  • What are the new lessons that your life and heart have taught you as you have aged?
  • McKay writes, “We put up ornaments of the past and discover new meanings in the present.” Are you discovering new meanings to anything in your life?


Download a pdf including the Reflection Questions to share and discuss with friends, family, or members of your faith community small group.

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay

Rev. Bobbie McKay, Ph.D., is a UCC minister, author and licensed psychologist. Rev. McKay cocreated the Spiritual Health Center, NFP, and conducted a research study on spiritual life in the United Church of Christ. Based on the findings of this study, Spiritual Life Teams were born, and the study has been extended to the Episcopal church, the Catholic church and the Reform Jewish Community in the greater Chicago area as well as to Islamic populations in New York, Illinois and Florida. Rev. McKay currently works as pastoral associate in Spiritual Life at Glenview Community Church in Glenview, Illinois.

View all articles by Rev. Dr. Bobbie McKay