Thursday, October 8, 2009


Do you ever feel like time is racing by faster and faster? Do you look back on your life and wonder what happened to all the years? Job said, "My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy." (Job 9:25) As I grow older, I am beginning to understand how he might have felt. Sometimes, my days do seem to race by like a runner, leaving nothing more than a blur of what once was. Lately, I've been thinking of the past quite a bit and what it all means to me today. It's funny how the past almost seems to have a physical existence, like it exists "somewhere", "out there". God created us to be thinkers and stretch the power of our minds, and I guess that's how the whole concept of time travel began. Man has always tried to harness time, but much like the mind, our efforts prove futile. Is time only a relative concept and our memories just bits and pieces of data, stored away in the recesses the miracle that is our brain?

Go back in time, for just a moment, to your very earliest memory. Mine is the day my parents brought my younger brother home from the hospital. I was only three years old and I remember this little red thing wrapped in white and the house filled with people. I remember my Mom smiling at me as she encouraged me to “meet” him for the first time. Your memory will be very different. It might be your first haircut, getting your first bike, a particular Christmas that stands out, your first time at the beach, whatever. Close your eyes, fix your thoughts on that moment and think about it for just a few minutes. Do your best to imagine the details. Try and remember how it felt. What did things look like around you? What time of day was it? What was the lighting like? What smells do you think might have been connected to this memory. Who was there? What were they wearing? Put yourself in that moment. Capture it. Be in that moment.

Now, concentrate on the moment you are in right now. You might be at work, at home, in a Starbucks like I am, wherever you are. You might be taking a walk, working out at the gym, shopping, whatever. Look at the environment around you. Focus on the details of your surroundings. Engage all of your senses. Who is with you or around you? Close your eyes and take in the and sounds. Focus on the smells. Absorb this very moment. Take it in. Capture it. Be in this moment.

Now imagine the great expanse of life in between these two moments. Imagine the vast and detailed canvas of your life. Two very specific memories. Two isolated points of time. Two very distinct and vivid moments, divided by an almost endless amount of details, moments and memories that make up the construct of your life. Now think about this for a moment. What holds these two memories to one another? What connects these moments together? What is the “filling” of these two very different and isolated points of time? What are some of the events in life that you would look at as significant; the ones that have transformed you into who you are today? Who are the people that have come in and out of your life? How long were they in your life? How have the touched you? How have they changed you?

Now go back to that first memory. How did that one significant event affect the filling of your life? How did that event play a part, even if very small, in the progression of where you are today? How did that event help in directing the life you lived after that moment? Why do you think God put you in that very place in time, to experience what you did in that moment? Why has He put you in this place in time, reading this particular blog?

What’s my point? I’m not sure. I guess as I get older, I am beginning to look at my life with a more critical eye. As I do certain things, right or wrong, I am more aware of how they might affect the rest of my life. I wonder how each action I take might have an influence on other events that follow. I wonder how what I do, say and even think, might touch someone else’s life and even change the course of events. Obviously, the birth of my brother was a very significant event in my life because as hard as I try, I do not remember anything before he was born. How different would my life be had he not come along? How different would my life be if he had been a girl, or if he had been mentally or physically disabled?

Think about it. A lot of time has transpired between the two moments that we just imagined. And as we live in the present day, our tendency is to move extremely fast. Let’s face it; as we get older, time seems to accelerate at an alarming rate. I remember when a year seemed to be an eternity. Now, a year goes by in the flash of an instant. And that makes me wonder, “What happened to all that time? Where did it go? What happened to all those details and moments of my life? And I guess what I’m really asking is, “How have I lived throughout this last year? What did I do with these memories and moments? How have they affected my “today” and how will they affect my tomorrow?

“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) If these things are true, does this not have a profound effect on how we live our lives each day? Each hour? Each minute? Each second? I think this might be the “meaningless” of life that God is trying to get across to us. Maybe in terms of eternity, our lives on earth are only a snapshot of what God created us to be.

1 comment:

Mo said...

No, Jake, not soporific at all.

But.... I guess I don't dwell too much on the "dash", as a former pastor used to call it. You know - how on a gravestone it gives the year born separated by a dash from the year died. He talked about how it's the dash that's important - what happens in-between those two dates. If I ponder too hard the cause-and-effect of my actions and/or my life, then it's too easy to lose sight of what's truly important - and that's my Abba's voice, guiding me into whatever action or conversation or relationship or thought process, or whatever it might be that He has in store. I suppose if I got down to the brass tacks of my beliefs, I don't believe we have any ability to actually choose to influence (or to not influence, as the case may be). God doesn't need us to do any of those things - although He allows us to be participants in their happening. But I think we do have the ability to be aware of His leading as He speaks it in a moment-by-moment fashion. So maybe those are the only moments that truly matter.

Your original query was if I/we feel like life becomes a blur the older we get. I answer with a resounding YES!!! And the past several months have seemed to go by at warp speed, and without much satisfaction being harvested from them. But I think Abba is showing me that it's in part because I have been so self-focused. I have withdrawn into the abyss of my own feelings (and it has been dark these past few months, too much life happening). Or at best it has been apathetic and that's nearly worse. But as I begin to seek out His gentle whispers again, I find my view changing... rather than seeing the world obscured by the fogginess of my emotions, I am beginning to see with increasing clarity the freshness of His awesome creation. Not just the birds and the rainbows and the silly lizard on someone's Facebook that changes colors - but His best creation of all - life. The more I look for laughter, the more I seem to smile.

So maybe... just maybe... my dash will slow down a bit, and actually fill back up with moments and memories that are priceless - whether they last a second or a lifetime.

OK.... NOW I'm sleepy. But it's a great post, Jake. ~ Mo