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Derek Earl: For Everything a Time

Timing is everything! At least that’s how it seems to me when I use it to navigate the many twists and turns of day-to-day living. It’s tricky – finding just the right timing for all kinds of things, like . . . logging in and logging off, eating dessert, applying for a credit card, pruning the bushes, picking up the check, smiling at a stranger, ignoring an email, laughing until your nose runs, or even playing with a puppy. How do you identify the best time to ask for help; find another job; skip church; say a heartfelt yes . . . or a gentle, difficult no; share a secret; hear a profound story or just keep quiet?

Life presents us with an unbelievable number of opportunities to use time to somehow mark the people, places, circumstances and events that help define who we are as individuals, as well as who we are in relationship to others. Sometimes, when we’ve planned well, been careful . . . and lucky, time is our friend. Other times it can surprise us with a demand. And, as often as not, it’s a moving target that we invariably misread. It’s perplexing . . . time is. Too often we fool ourselves into believing there is more of it to plan, and do, and be than is actually available.

Taking the time to spend with others makes them more than an idea, vague and unstructured. When we just hear about something or someone, we only have an outline of that person, place or thing. But, when we use time to experience and know others, we gather them into our reality – we let them touch who we are; they become real to us.

Derek Earl’s life was only marked by one major date in earth-time. The timing to share all the milestones of his arrival was never quite right. Even now, five years after his stillbirth, his parents understand that since there wasn’t time for family and friends to happily anticipate and ready a place for Derek in their lives, he never became wholly real to them. But to his parents and siblings, he has been a cherished child of their family from the moment of inception, a son and brother who will remain a very real presence throughout the time of their lives.

Derek’s story is now posted and available to be shared at There is time for you to let his life touch yours. Just navigate to the menu on my homepage and hover your cursor on the Books tab to find the link to “Parents Tell Their Stories.” In “Derek Earl: For Everything a Time,” his parents share their son’s story – their times of joy, grief, what if’s, anger and fear, as well as some treasured moments that helped them move their lives toward healing.


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