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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