People always say the older you get the faster time goes by, and I have to say I'm in total agreement with that. Today, my son and I went through things in my storage unit to get what he needed to set up house in his very first apartment … when did he get to be old enough to live on his own? I mean, I know he's twenty and I know that's not really as grown up as he thinks he is (or any of us thought when we were 20) but I think I'll always picture him as 4 or 5 years old, running around in shorts and cowboy boots. It seems just yesterday.
Yet, among these same memories running amok in my head today, I thought of the events that surrounded putting all of my household goods in storage in preparation for school … and it was hard to slide open that door as step back into the events that clouded what was supposed to be an exciting and joyous time. So far, in this blog, I've never talked about any of it, just parleyed about how I came to be going to seminary and various events of my first year. But, it's on my mind today, and I think I need to put it into words a bit.
The people that where with me through this time know the details and I don't have to put the events into words for you and I'm grateful that you can know without words. When I got to school, I was surrounded by folks who didn't know and I had to learn to frame it in words and I found it to be tremendously healing – putting emotions and memories into words helps me own them instead of my emotions and memories owning me, and, again, I'm grateful to these new friends who patiently let me find the words I needed. The event, the death of my husband in the middle of plans to go to seminary, seems at the same time both far removed by time because I have changed so much since it happened and yet immediate when things trigger my memory unexpectedly. I wonder how can time seem two ways at once? I play back that day and I can see the people around me moving in slow motion and at the same time there are great holes in the events so that it seems time jumped forward and I missed things.
Time is a peculiar thing, and I don't think I can fully grasp what it is or how it works beyond being able to describe how a clock tells us what time it is. I put it in the category of awesome things that I won't truly grasp "on this side of the grave". One of my favorite things to do in church is when we are all reciting the Lord's Prayer or the Nicene Creed, I like to close my eyes and listen to the sound of all of our voices rising in unison with the same words, the same words that have been lifted up to God for hundreds and hundreds of years and will be lifted up for years to come. C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, talks about time, God's time, and how God doesn't see time as we do – he sees all time at once with no past, present, or future and I like to think that the chorus of faithful voices is continuous to God, that he hears my voice with that of the apostles and those of my great-great-great-great grandchildren. It boggles my mind.
When days seem to fly by too fast for me to accomplish everything, when some drag on so that I think I'll never survive them, when memories fill my thoughts so that I am pulled to times past and anxious thoughts try to drag me into the future, I try to remind myself that time is not mine it is God's. My responsibility is to spend the ticks of the clock trying to be who God needs me to be in each and every moment.
So, in this moment, I am coming to terms with my son growing up and I can say that I am proud and thankful that he is who he is and know that as time moves forward he will continue to develop into the person God needs him to be. I'll spend some time picturing the infant, the toddler, the little boy, and the teenager and I'll send him off with a prayer for protection and guidance and hope the time until I see him again goes quickly. Tick tock, tick tock.
God's peace, my friends,