The March of Time

I recently read a letter by C. S. Lewis in which he discussed the concept of time.  It’s exciting to think that God lives outside of time.  And that when we enter His presence, time will be no more.  We’ve all had those timeless moments when we think “if only it could stay like this” but time marches ruthlessly on.  In some ways, it becomes a comfort to us.  We’re human and we like routine and regularity (maybe not on a day-to-day basis but we rely on the seasons and progression of months to order our lives).  Other times, though, we’re left with moments that were a glimpse into something other, something higher, and we desperately want to re-create them but cannot.

Maddie reminded me of a nearly perfect moment that happened next summer.  (Maddie, I was just starting to settle down here…accept Portland as my home…and you had to ruin it all…) 

The day we arrived home from Ukraine is a bit of a blur in my memory (40+ hours without sleep) but I’m relying on my trusty journal to set the scene: 
Finally back from Ukraine and it felt like I was home as soon as we landed.  Unfortunately, after everyone else departed, Ryan got selected by the drug sniffing police dogs and I had to wait a long time for him.  I felt like I betrayed him when they asked “are you with him” and I said “No” knowing that if I said yes, they’d cart me off to a separate room…By saying “No” I was able to wait for him just on the other side of the airport doors.  Then there was the hour train ride back to Lancing, time for a 2 hour nap, and then the 3 mile walk to Worthing. 

It was great to see everyone again and the hugs I received were much appreciated.  In typical Worthing fashion, we were walking to the cafe where Chris Storey was holding his coffee talk when a kooky guy approached.  “There’s a discussion in there titled ‘is there anyone out there?’ but a better question would be ‘is there anyone in here?'” and he tapped his head.  Gotta love church life and the people we attract.As it turned out, there wasn’t room for everyone in the cafe and Maddie, Ben, Joe and I migrated outdoors where we basked in the July twilight.  I don’t remember how it started (certainly wasn’t my idea…or Joe’s…or Ben’s) but we ended up going around and telling each other what we most appreciated about them.  Probably (just because I know us pretty well) it began by us telling each other what we didn’t appreciate about each other. 

No matter how it started, it ended up being such an encouraging hour.  Maybe I needed a dose of encouragement after the ups and downs of Ukraine.  It was nice to know that I have the ability to calm Maddie down when she’s stressing (good thing she hasn’t had nearly as much stress since I left, oh wait…could those two possibly be connected?) and that Joe thinks I’m brutally honest (ha!  he’s the king!).  Ben and I, having spent a year in close quarters, were able to think of multiple encouragements and even discuss the “rocky patches” in our friendship.  We drew a trajectory, that’s how nerdy we are.  It was great. 

All this to say that when I remember last summer, it’s not dancing at Newday or PJ Smythe’s talk at Mobilise or top roping at Carroty Wood that I remember best.  It’s that one hour sitting around a table in the center of Worthing High Street appreciating those around me.  I know y’all could tell of similar experiences…moments when it felt like time stood still…another face in the prism of that experience we have not yet tasted and can understand (in part) but never fully comprehend – heaven

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