LILY Letter 121: To Make Much of Time

August 1, 2023

17th century English poet Robert Herrick penned these immortal words about a very mortal subject: 

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
(Robert Herrick, To the Virgins to Make Much of Time.)

One of the great advantages of middle-age is that you are old enough to know but young enough to do. The great disadvantage of middle-age is being painfully aware of how fleeting time is. Childhood felt like one eternal summer. Youth passed more quickly but still seemed to go on for a good long while. Middle age snuck up on me. I don't believe there was one day when I woke up and just realized, "Okay, I am no longer a young man. I am now middle-aged."

So what rosebuds will you gather while you still have time? What kind of memories will you make with your children, friends, and dating partners? What contribution will you make to the world?

Will you follow Herrick's advice, "Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry"? (I think a lot of us are pretty "coy" when the subject of marriage arises. Nothing makes a middle aged single feel more vulnerable.) Cathy and I were married when I was 50 years old. I don't lament that I didn't meet her when I was a newly returned missionary. (She was only 9 anyway.) I am glad that we have an eternity because we started a little late. With an eternal perspective, starting at 50 isn't much different than 21.

On the other hand, however old you are today, you are younger than you will ever be again. It is ok if you went through some trauma and don't feel ready to get married yet -- as long as you know what you want long-term, and don't become complacent about it.

We started Love in Later Years in part to encourage you to live the second half of your life with more enthusiasm than the first half. We want you to rediscover the belief that marriage and family life can be joyful and rewarding. So take that trip to Disneyland with your kids, take those art classes you always wanted to take, get that college degree, start that business, and pluck up the courage to ask that beautiful or handsome friend to have dinner with you.

We often talk about the trials that inevitably come in every human life. But life is to be lived, not merely endured. So gather your rosebuds and live it well.


Re-entering the dating world after being out of it for years is daunting for most. We encourage intentional healing from relationship loss as part of your journey.

If you are recovering from divorce, let us support you with our in depth course "Life Design After Divorce," now available on demand at your own pace. Enjoy this week's FREE podcast on the subject of "Life Design After Divorce" (link below) to learn more.

We are pleased to announce that we have prepared a new LIVE course starting this Fall (Sept-Dec). Sign up for the FREE Webinar: "Courting with Confidence" -- it will help you make much of time!


LILY Pod: Life Design After Divorce

LILY Tube: I'm Not Ready to Date (Maybe I Never Will Be)

LILY Short: Creating Safe Space


LILY Coaching is available to support you personally. Simply REPLY to this email to request a FREE consultation with Jeff or Cathy. We look forward to meeting with you face to face by Zoom!

Get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon to heal from relationship loss and create more love in your life. Order your book HERE: IntentionalCourtship

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