There is a new Home Sense store that has opened in Barrie.  Technically, it’s not new, it just moved from one end of the Georgian Mall to the other, from a small space to a bigger space.  But even though not new, when you change the space around something, it can seem new, which was enough to convince me to go for a visit.  So off I went.

I’m always looking for things that can add character to my apartment, and Home Sense did not disappointed with its endless shelves of knickknacks and do-hickeys.  If I had unlimited funds, I may well have been tempted to purchase the three-foot-tall solid iron reindeer for $800 (I have always wanted a low maintenance pet), but I needed to eat this month, so I settled on something much more modest.  I bought a $30 hourglass that I have since put on the table beside my couch.

I’m not sure why it caught my eye and captured my imagination.  Perhaps it reminded me of the old days, when I would play endless games of “Pictionary” with my kids.  The little plastic hourglass that came with the game would tick away the seconds while they tried to guess what my squiggly lines were trying to create (usually a castle or a frog).  Or maybe I got it because an hourglass represents a forgotten era when we seemed better at mastering time than the other way around.  Or perhaps I got it because it can be quite soothing, even relaxing, to sit and watch the sands of time slip from one end of the hourglass to the other (I know what you are thinking, Phil needs more friends).

The motivational speaker Dale Carnegie had a different interpretation of the hourglass.  He saw it as a reminder of how we handle the many tasks and responsibilities of life.  The only way that the grains of sand can pass from one side of the hourglass to the other is to go one at time.  You can’t rush this process.  Have you ever tried?  Have you ever tried to make an hourglass go faster?  Shaking it won’t work. Throwing it in the air won’t work.  Getting frustrated at it won’t work.  It only works at its own pace.

Listen to Dale Carnegie in his own words.

“Think of your life as an hourglass.  The thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle, one grain of sand at a time.  You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass.  When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, we are bound to break our own physical and mental structure.”

The hourglass is a good reminder to take things in life one at a time.  If we don’t, life can seem overwhelming, and we can get frustrated.  So maybe we simply need to deal with the grain that is in front us. Move it where it needs to go, and then tackle the next grain.  By the end of the day, we may be amazed at what has shifted around us, and within us.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” – Martin Luther King Jr.