Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson
I discovered these adorable Ralph Lauren shoes in storage recently. They were mine, circa 1986. The size looked about right for a certain sweet five year-old I know. I set them on the stairs, knowing my youngest girl would find them. (She has a thing for shoes). She came home from school and the next thing I knew, she was dancing around in my old shoes. They fit. The fact that my childhood shoes fit my little girls feet made me very nostalgic and heart-sick in an instant.
I wrestle with the idea of time passing me by. It mystifies and troubles me. It shocks me when I see pictures of myself as a child or in college – not to mention pictures of my girls as newborns. Where did all those days go? If I wasn’t witness to each day, it would seem impossible that my oldest child is eight and my youngest will be six in November.
“The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not…” Thomas Carlyle
I vividly remember sitting on the floor of my baby’s bedroom in our newly purchased first home, extremely pregnant with my first child and feeling a sense of panic. I wasn’t worried about having a child. My thoughts were, “I want to remember every second of my time with this little life. I can’t wait to love her. I don’t want to miss even one thing.” But I have. It’s inevitable. I let days go by without being present in the moment. Life happens and days come and go. We get older. Children grow and become adults. Life moves with a deceiving gentle ebb and flow. In reality, it is only a breath. As J.K. Rowling wrote, “Time is making fools of us again.”
“Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.” Charles Caleb Colton
We fight it frantically. We move and we hide but we cannot out run time’s passing. Your shoes will become someone else’s shoes before you know it.
For me, the only thing that brings perspective to this wrestling with time is scripture. The words calm my thoughts. God is speaking through Isaiah and He says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (Isaiah 46:10) God is above time. His purpose remains throughout all of time. He knows the end from the beginning and understands it in ways I never will. God has given us a time for everything. Seasons will change and we will die but God does not. We are promised an eternal life that will never end and that is something to live expectantly for. It is hard to lament the passing of time on this earth when we have the promise of an eternal life with our Creator.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil–this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-15