Thursday, August 20, 2009

My how time flies

This next week is a big week in the Sandlin household. Sophie starts kindergarten. It’s a cliché to say, “My how the time flies” but most clichés become repeated for a reason. These first five years have flown by. There’s joy, without a doubt. Especially on Sophie’s part. Life still feels abundant to a five year old. No looking back. As she starts this first day of school, she can in no way see the end of that journey. Graduation from high school might as well be a thousand years away. But the rest of us know better. We know that time has a way of slipping through our fingers.
That knowledge, which is a gift given to those who are able to look back over a few decades, causes milestones to be marked by both joy and sadness. Joy over how far we’ve come. Sadness over the fact that we know we shall not pass that way again. If we’re not careful that sadness can turn into despair. For as time flies, it takes with it our strength, our energy, and many of our unfinished plans. Even King David, with all his previous days of vigor and vitality, could not prevent the day from coming when he would lay shivering beneath the covers, frail and aged, awaiting his departure from this world. That image is enough to depress the best of us. With this inevitable end in mind, we realize that every joyful milestone is also one more step towards that final milestone, and that knowledge tempts us to wallow in some form of perverted nostalgia.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the last marker of this life isn’t the final marker on our road. In fact, the truth we proclaim as Christians is that in death we’ve just reached the end of the on-ramp onto a far greater road. C.S. Lewis described that road in his Narnia books as one that will lead us forever “further in and further up.” My guess is that the greater reality of our last day here on this earth will be much more like Sophie’s first day of kindergarten than we realize. While there will no doubt be a little fear of the unknown, by the end of the day there will be no thought of looking back. There will simply be too much in front of our eyes that thrills our souls.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever - Psalm 23:6.

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