Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Time Again

This morning I linked you to photos interpreting the theme of Time. I've been thinking a lot about that subject - time - lately, as this terrible, difficult, impossibly beautiful year of 2010 comes to an end. I can hardly remember the end of 2009. What did we do for Thanksgiving? (I looked back on my blog and found out.) How about Christmas? (I'm not entirely sure.) Everything was eclipsed and driven from my mind by the earthquake of January 12th.

Already I feel the coming of the year anniversary, as though I am being pulled towards it. Frankly, January scares me. Today in seventh grade we read a John Updike poem about December. He ends it by saying:

The shepherds wait,
The kings, the tree –
All wait for something
Yet to be,

Some miracle.
And then it’s here,
Wrapped up in hope –
Another year!

As soon as I read those words, I thought, Hope in the new year? Not likely! As I had that thought, a kid in the second row voiced almost exactly the same idea.

Where has the time gone, the eleven months, and soon a whole year, since the earthquake? Sometimes it seems as though it happened last week - after all, the city is still full of rubble, and of people living in tents. Other times, it feels far in the past. Most of the time I can hardly remember what my life was like before it.

As the year anniversary inexorably approaches, I wish the earthquake had never happened. I wish that for the sake of people I love who lost so much that they can never get back. I wish that for the sake of my beloved Haiti. And yet, God has brought so much into my life that is beautiful this year. New and deepened relationships. A greater ability to trust Him. A sense like I've never had before of how much God loves me - and all of us. God didn't let the earthquake happen so I would get those gifts. I can't say that often enough. I'm not that full of myself, to believe that. But I have been amazed to watch Him redeem the pain and misery in my life and the lives of those around me. I can't even explain it, but I am so grateful for it.

Time. We have no control over it. We don't know what will happen in the next moments. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

And yet, Time. Such a beautiful gift. Twenty-four hours a day, to use as we choose. To keep or give away. To praise or complain. To love those around us or to focus on ourselves.

Soon 2011 will be here. I greet it with some trepidation. What next? But I also know that God was faithful in 2010, even though one of the worst things imaginable happened. He was faithful to me, and He was faithful to people who lost so much more than I did, and He was faithful to people who lost their lives. His faithfulness is not about everything working out peachy. It's about how, when everything falls apart, He is there. He just is. He's there in so many ways, and one of the most amazing is in His people. And I know He'll continue to be there in 2011. I can trust Him to do that.


Janet said...

This is beautiful. I know you don't think of yourself this way, but your words carry an authority after what you've been through. When you speak about God's goodness, I listen.

On time: when I was in high school, my pastor preached once on it. He included this little rhyme, which for some strange reason has stuck in my mind all these years:

Just a tiny little minute
Only 60 seconds in it
Forced upon me, can't refuse it
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it
I must suffer if I lose it
Pay a price if I refuse it
Just a tiny little minute
But eternity is in it

Ruth said...

Thank you, Janet.

Sandy said...

If there is anything that I know to be true in my life, it's that God is faithful and he can be trusted. "I would have lost hope, if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13
Praying that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Tricia said...

@Walking to China, I encountered that verse just the other day, looking at a photo exhibit focused on some Byzantine churches in Turkey. The "land of the living" was part of the name of a monastery, iirc, but it was a good reminder to me, having just lost a good friend to cancer.

Tricia said...

Ruth, I agree with Janet. Your words carry authority. Another Carrie Newcomer song I can't get out of my head this week has the following chorus:

So today I’ll drop stones into the river.
And the current takes them out into forever.
And the truth is most of us will never know,
Where our best intentions go.
And still I’ll drop another stone.

Just as you don't know the full effect of your work as a teacher, you won't know the full effect of your work as a blogger on us readers. I appreciate your regular reminders of God's goodness.