Notes from Jan

Following a Deeper Clock

August 24, 2022

Once upon a time, time took its time. Now, some days I feel the sand rushing through the hour glass of life. Fewer grains on top, the bottom almost full. I fight fear, until I take a deep breath and recall, “My times are in God’s hands.”(Psalm 31:15) Life is seasonal. Like these words from Ecclesiates remind us:

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity unter heaven, a time to be born and a time to die…a time to cry and a time to laugh…a time to keep and a time to throw away…”(from Ecclesiastes 3, NLT)

But most days life doesn’t feel so ordered and seasoned. Chaos out there and sometimes in me. Stuff bothers me. The stuff that needs a choice about “what to keep and what to throw away.” Stuff that happens in relationships that requires wisdom to know “when to cry and when to laugh.” When to forgive others or yourself and move on from there.

A few days ago I read an article in the Boston Globe, “Aging Pope Francis finds lessons in frailty.” He advocates “dignity for the aged in a throwaway culture.” And bringing young and old together to “hear history directly from the people who lived it.” Then added, “spending time with the old forces people to slow down, turn off their phones and follow a deeper clock.’

That’s good advice. Trust the Creator of the deeper clock in you and me. Relinquish the frenzied race to win, accomplish more, respond to every ping on our phones. Accept a slower pace as holy. Appreciate the gift of years, as Joan Chittister reminds in her book by the same title.

Which brings to mind the gift of Frederick Buechner who died last week at age 96. Last evening our bible study group gathered and shared thoughts on Buechner. I’m grateful for words, my friend Martha, read from Buechner’s novel, Brendan.

” ‘To lend each other a hand when we’re falling,’ Brendan said, ‘Perhaps that’s the only work that matters in the end.’ ”

It’s a privileged calling to help each other stand, make it Home. And to accept the truth that sometimes we’re the helping hand and sometimes we’re the ones falling, needing a hand. Though Brendan reminds us “we’re all cripples.” True.

In the August 4th entry in Buechner’s Listening to your life. He offers encouragement to enjoy this sacred season.

“Very young children and very old children also have in common the advantage of being able to sit on the sideline of things. While everybody else is in there jockeying for position and sweating it out, they can lean back, put their feet up, and like the octogenarian King Lear, ‘pray, sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies.’

Well, my deeper clock tells me it’s time for a nap. I’ll try to pray, sing, tell old tales and laugh afterwards.

And all from some sacred sideline.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Evelyn Morgan August 24, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    Just what I needed today. I have been experiencing many decisions about what to do with “stuff”, and it’s good to know I am not the only one. Mostly, I am trying to put many of my treasures in the right hands where they will be used to good advantage and not just thrown in a dumpster. I had large amounts of music books, all of them out of print now, ie., Singspiration Favorites, 2 of each one, along with many books of special music we heard for so many years. I was thrilled God showed me the right places where they will be used for His glory. Many churches in our area prefer the old hymns and special music for duets, trios, etc.

    This stage in life makes one contemplate so many things we never dreamed of. I love reading your words of wisdom, a gift you inherited from your momma. Now my deeper clock says it’s nap time. Thanks, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 24, 2022 at 10:24 pm

      Oh, my dear Evie. I loved to hear you sing. And I can picture those Singspiration Favorites for duets and trios. We had many tucked into our piano bench or stacked on top. And they came in sets of two: one for the pianist, one for the vocalists.Yes, much has changed in Church music and the rest of the world. It isn’t easy to know what to do with what’s been entrusted to or collected by us. I am asking God to guide you, me and others as we seek wisdom on how to relinquish and how to invest the remains of our one small dash…the small line between the date of our birth and our death that represents our time on this earth.. Meanwhile, I thank God for you, my college roommate, and for naps!

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio August 24, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Just what the great physician, God, ordered for me personally today!
    I just love you Jan Carlberg!! I so identify!
    Please let’s get together for coffee soon!!
    Nancy Vecvhio

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 24, 2022 at 10:29 pm

      Well, I’d love that, dear Nancy. Soon CBS will start again. I’m looking forward to gathering and studying again I’ll contact you about
      when we can get together for coffee Another day’s almost history and I didn’t get to all I’d hoped to accomplish. Then again,
      maybe all God wanted me to do was encourage you today. If so, mission accomplished. And you did the same for me.Thanks.

  • Reply Wendy August 28, 2022 at 11:35 am

    I made a needlepoint for Steve when we were newly married – it’s a young man and woman sitting back to back on a hillside in the grass. It says “Quiet moments are nicest of all” As much as that meant to us then, it means 100 fold more now. And, I remember the privilege of being “shepherding elders” even at our young age back at Grace Chapel – you gave us a sheep for our Christmas tree to remember we are but sheep ourselves, needing the Good Shepherd’s help all the time. So well said that there is a time to help – may we always be on the look out for that! And there is a time to be helped. Thank you for all you have taught me over the years dear Jan!! <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 29, 2022 at 12:07 pm

      And thank you, dear Wendy, for all you students taught me during our years at Gordon and at Grace Chapel.

      • Reply Wendy August 29, 2022 at 3:49 pm

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