Time In A Bottle

Jim Croce wrote the hit song, Time in a Bottle in 1970, the night he found out his wife, Ingrid, was pregnant. Just three years later, he was killed in a plane crash. The lyrics speak to the heart of every person. After all, who wouldn’t want to capture time and put an end to the inevitable march towards death? Of course, we can’t! Time marches on. One day our life will be reduced to a three-to-five-minute slideshow that our friends and family will watch at a funeral home. What story will your slide show tell? Please read more…..

For a variety of reasons, death seemed to fill my thoughts this past week. A distant relative of mine passed away at age 89. He had been married for 70 years. I went online to read his obituary and the funeral home had a slide show of the deceased’s life for all to see. It struck me that upon our passing, no matter how long we lived, our life will be reduced to a series of photos on a screen.

I didn’t know this relative well. I had only met him a few times. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see what photos the family chose to tell his life’s story. From the time he was a young man, until the time he was a great grandfather, each picture seemed to have something to say about a specific moment in his life. Many of the pictures told a story of enduring love through his 70 years of marriage.

For some reason, my mind drifted off in deep thought as I watched this slide show. Words from a song in Fiddler on a Roof echoed in my brain.

“Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset

Swiftly flow the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze. 

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

Without a doubt, the years of life fly by in a hurry. Life clearly is laden with happiness and tears. In addition to the death of my relative, a good friend of mine died this past week at age 78 from COVID-19, and yet another friend of mine was placed in Hospice care as a result of complications from his battle with COVID-19. Over the last few weeks several other people I know, have succumbed to this horrible pandemic. I am sure most of you have somehow been touched by it.

If you read last week’s message, you know that I was also diagnosed with COVID-19. My wife also came down with it this past week. Thankfully, we both seem to be on the mend. I want to thank all of you who offered prayers for us. Many of you shared stories with me about your loved ones who have had this virus. Most recovered, tragically, some did not.

Jim Croce’s song contained these lyrics:

“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”

These words are a beautiful expression of love. We all want to hold on tightly to those we care for. None of us wants to lose someone to the grip of death. Of course, death is inevitable for all of us. Which brings me to my point. How do you want to be remembered? What pictures do you want in your last slide show? What story will those pictures tell?

One funeral home’s website gave some pointers to prepare a slideshow. It recommended keeping the slide show to no more than 3-5 minutes with no more than 2 songs. It recommended photos of your loved one that show them in the various stages of life. It said the video should communicate the personality of the one who has passed. It said you should collect photos that show relationships with their spouse, children, friends, and even pets. It said the slideshow should include important dates and events such as graduation, jobs, children, memberships, hobbies, armed forces, volunteer work, special vacations, and more! It also suggested that going through these pictures could be helpful in dealing with grief.

My hope is that the pictures of our life, will clearly tell the story of someone who loved God and loved others and who tried their best to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Hopefully, Lord willing, we will all be granted the time to make many more lasting memories with those that we love and care for. Any of these moments might be worthy of becoming a picture in our final show. This discussion of death begs an important spiritual question. Are we prepared to die? Are we prepared to stand before the presence of God? If not, there is no better time than right now to make the needed changes. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Right now, as you begin this new year, invite Jesus into your life, even if you have a thousand times before. Begin living every moment of life in a way that demonstrates your love for God and your love for neighbor.

Our life is but a vapor. We are here and gone. We cannot capture time in a bottle. Each day is but one more picture in our final slide show. Don’t take time for granted. Make each moment pleasing to God!

Click here to read a poem I wrote 2 years ago about the gift of each new day.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the precious gift of life and time. I know that one day my time on earth will end. Until that day, help me to follow in the footsteps of your Son Jesus and help me to love others as you love me. Amen!

As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.

Brian Pusateri
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  1. Susan Engelke on January 18, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Hi Brian, my heart goes out to you and your family. I have added your family to our prayer list. Several of us are watching the Catholicism Series by Bishop Barron and watch #9 last night. We always have a discussion after, but instead gave our prayers up to all those suffering from COVID. I will keep you in my daily prayers. God bless and keep you safe and well.

  2. Denise Fogle on January 12, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    I read your letter and poem in adoration, and my, how very touching and thought provoking.. thanks so much.. God bless your day.

    • Brian Pusateri on January 12, 2021 at 5:38 pm


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless!


    • ray on January 16, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Hello Brian. I dont know anyone who has passed away from Covid.
      I do have a few friends who have passed away in the last 6 months. We will all meet our Lord someday. It is never to late to turn to God. He is always there foe us.
      I loved your teaching this week and your poem was wonderful.
      I will pray for you and your wife that you will recover completely from this virus.
      God bless you both, may He wrap his loving arms around you.

  3. Lemoine Klug on January 12, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Dang, I don’t know how you do it every week, awaken my inter thought.
    Good to know you and your wife have overcome COVID. Thanks be to God

    • Brian Pusateri on January 12, 2021 at 1:25 pm


      Hello my friend. Great to hear from you. I hope you and the wonderful people at your parish are doing well. I have fond memories of my trip there. Thank you for your post.


  4. Patricia Belanger on January 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    What a beautiful poem and so appropriate.

    • Brian Pusateri on January 12, 2021 at 1:25 pm


      I am glad to know you enjoyed it.


  5. Cathy Volk on January 12, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Hi Brian,
    I thank the Lord for the gift you have been given with your messages. This one is so true and timely. I am also thankful to learn that you and your wife are on the road to recovery, too.
    So very true; there are no guarantees that I will see tomorrow. It is all gift from God.

    • Brian Pusateri on January 12, 2021 at 9:20 am


      Thank you for your kind words!


  6. Paul Coletta on January 12, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Powerful, moving and timely Tuesday message.
    God Bless Brian

  7. Cathy Thompson on January 12, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Brian, I’m so happy to hear that you and your wife are feeling better.

    “Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers”

    And . . can anyone REALLY be prepared to stand in the presence of our God ? I can’t wait for that day but I don’t think I’ll ever be fully prepared.

  8. Brian on January 12, 2021 at 6:34 am

    To All

    I just received the news this morning that my friend, whose name is Bob, that I mentioned above who was under Hospice care, died last night at 10pm. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.


  9. Bob Davis on January 12, 2021 at 1:38 am


    Thank you for a timely message!
    We do not know when God will call us or the people in our lives home. We should live and treat one another as if everyone is a treasured gift and no one is taken for granted or overlooked. They are put into our lives so that we may be blessed, and may bless in return with patience, wisdom, counsel, charity, and friendship. With some that we encounter, this can beceasier said than done, but that challenge -to love the unlovable, is also a gift from God!

    I am glad to hear you are recovering from Covid. I also had a mild case, but it kept me from work for 2 1/2 weeks. It felt like no other illness I’ve had before. It’s real and it’s serious! But by God’s grace I am left with no known lasting effects, other than more compassion for those whose jobs have been lost, for those that have had the illness worse than I, and for those who have lost loved ones.

    Thank you for the beautiful poem!
    It’s a reminder to tell the friends and family we love them in both word and action, and to reach out to those who desperately need to feel God’s love through us – while there is still time.

    Peace and health to you!
    Bob Davis

    • Brian Pusateri on January 12, 2021 at 6:38 am


      Thank you for your post and for your prayers.


      • Doug Miller on January 12, 2021 at 7:43 am

        Thanks for the beautiful message, so appropriate for the New Year. And I am glad to hear you and Mary Beth are doing well.


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