Thursday, February 22, 2018

the time is short

I’ve been spending much time lately just tracing over the memories of our life here. I know the sadness of this season’s end will eventually be replaced by the gratefulness to have had at all. But I also know how to sit heavy with the weight of never-agains, how to linger in the rocking chair (and on the volleyball court, and in the sanctuary, and in my garden, and everywhere else these days!)
Tears that mourn the never-agains will turn to tears of gratitude. 
"Nothing in this life lasts forever." How this sentence seems to be shouted in my ears all day, every day! How many lasts have gone by and I didn’t even notice? Who came to our last cookout? What sprouts broke the ground first last spring? When was my last field trip with the kids?  Did I take any pictures of our last zoo trip, our last boat ride?
Sometimes the seasons change imperceptibly; sometimes suddenly. This change seems so sudden it is almost violent. There is not enough time left for lingering and remembering and all the just-one-more-times I want to do things.
It reminds me of the time I said goodbye to my husband went he left for Iraq. There wasn’t enough time then, either, and even the time he did have had to be shared with others who loved him. I remember trying to enjoy every moment, trying almost to stock up on him, as if I could just fill myself up with enough of him so as to make the parting less painful. Just one more kiss, just one more quiet moment, and then I’ll be satisfied, and I’ll willingly let him go.
That didn’t happen, and it won’t happen this time, either. It will not be my feelings that determine when it’s time to move on. It will be the date on the calendar. It will come too quickly, before I can get every one-more-time in. I won’t be ready, and I won’t have enough of Michigan to satisfy me for a lifetime, to make me let go cheerfully.
The seasons change, and I cannot stop it. And so, I linger. I try not to demand more than I’ve been given; I try to take each day for the gift that it is, and I try to trust God with the future. 
But it’s hard. 
I’m sad. 
So for now, I'm lingering a bit with the people and the places I love. I'm letting myself think about the never-agains, and I'm taking the time to put pictures in an album. And when the kids cry, I stop packing to give a hug, and I say it again, "It's ok to be sad."

Evening and morning, sunset and dawning,
Wealth, peace and gladness, comfort in sadness,
These are Thy works; all the glory be Thine!
Times without number, awake or in slumber,
Thine eye observes us, from danger preserves us,
Causing Thy mercy upon us to shine.

Father, O hear me, pardon and spare me;
Calm all my terrors, blot out my errors,
That by Thine eyes they may no more be scanned.
Order my goings, direct all my doings;
As it may please Thee retain or release me;
All I commit to Thy fatherly hand.

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