The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Time In A Bottle


As I was sitting in a wooden pew, a few rows behind my best friend Barb and her family; we honored the life and passing of her father, Ralph. A little more than a month earlier, we were gathered around festively decorated tables, celebrating his 90th birthday. In the interceding weeks, life energy ebbed from him and last week he made his opening farewell and moved on to wherever his Spirit now resides. The presiding priest of the sacrament of  the Catholic faith that Ralph embraced, assured those present that “God’s servant was now with his savior.” His voice, likely having recited  the funeral mass countless times, was soothing, as were the prayers that were familiar to most there. A specific hymn reached my heart, since it was one that we sang at my ordination from The New Seminary, as an interfaith minister in 1999; called Here I Am, Lord. The service ended with the singing of Let There Be Peace On Earth. My experience of Ralph was that although he was not an overtly religious man, he did seem to be a peaceful man.


During the service, I took note of the line of heads from left to right of Barb, her husband Glenn, their son Alex; a student at Ohio State, Cady; my 14 year old God-daughter, Blake, in her first year at Temple University, and 7 year old Darah. The words to the Jim Croce song Time In A Bottle, ran through my head. Wishing I could capture memory and hold it literally, rather than figuratively in my mind. Barb and I met nearly 40 years ago on our competing community swim teams as we sat on the bench waiting to swim our events.  We joked that we “swam on different teams together.” Hard to say what brought together a Catholic  parochial school educated kid and a Jewish public school kid in such an enduringly bonded friendship. We had swimming, music, being the oldest of two (she has a younger brother and I have a younger sister), feeling a bit weird in a world of ‘normal’ people,  in common. We loved singing along to records of musicals. It was she who introduced me to Jesus Christ Superstar and last year we saw the musical Godspell on Broadway.  Jewish holidays were spent with my family, Catholic holidays with hers. For a few years, in my late teens,  I was in relationship with Paul who went to her Catholic High School.  Interesting the trajectory of her life led her to marry a Jewish man, send their children to Hebrew School; the oldest three having become Bar and Bat Mitzvot, the fourth, 5 years off yet. A few years ago, Barb converted to Judaism. As I watched her move through the inevitable doorway to becoming an ‘adult orphan'; her mom died more than 6 years ago,  I noticed the same ‘get through it’ energy that I experienced when I crossed that threshold myself two and a half years ago.


It reminded me that ‘everyone is on loan to us’, as I was informed more than 14 years ago, when facing my husband’s death. It brought home ever so clearly that I need not waste time wondering ‘what it’ and instead embrace ‘what is’. In that way I can fully imbibe the sweet contents of each bottle.


If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I’d like to do

Is to  save every day

Till Eternity passes away

Just to spend them with  you

If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come  true

I’d save every day like a treasure and then,

Again, I would spend  them with you

But there never seems to be enough time


To do the things  you want to do

Once you find them

I’ve looked around enough to  know

That you’re the one I  want to go Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes

And  dreams that had never come true

The box would be empty

Except for the  memory

Of how they were answered by you
But there never seems to be  enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them I’ve  looked around enough to know

That you’re the one I want to go Through time  with

Songwriter(s): Jim Croce Copyright: Denjac Music  Company Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce

  • Jo

    *sigh* It is impermanence that gives things meaning…but it is a bittersweet pill. t will be two years this Fri. since I lost my father to the ages. I still miss him every day.

  • Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

    Even as a Buddhist,for whom impermanence is a spiritual principle, I know that this is hard for you. I feel the same with my parents’ passing. This April was 5 years for my dad and this November will be 3 years for my mother. Hugs, honey <3

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