Today River and I rode through the mountains. We turned Gillian Welch way up and drove real slow, winding in and out of endless curves cut from sheer rock faces. She sang "Time's a revelator" and as she did it seemed time slowed, our surroundings coming into such sharp focus. The trees, except for a few evergreens, were bare and covered the old round hills in great gray bristles. There were tall slender symmetrical ones that looked like flightless feathers (for what are trees if not the earth's feathers, and forests her many wings). And there were huge white writhing ones too that looked like the skeletons of great lumbering beasts. And the ground, the trees and it seemed every stone was covered in a thick green fur.
After a week of rain the sun gilded the surface of streams and glowed rocks until they burned like coals. The endless bare branches, the sun cutting through with no canopy of leaves to obscure its light meant shadows criss crossing at every odd angle and making a maze on the forest floor. No photo could capture the stillness and the magic of those few moments any more than you can be warmed by a sketch of the sun. We just kept saying "wow, wow, wooooow". Our words, our breath, our movements slowed too. We stopped and stood on a giant rock in a river bend and my son, my own wild River broke the spell by quoting Coleridge which only served to put us back under the spell deeper still:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
Now, in our hotel room, River strums his guitar and I am thinking about time, this short interval of eternity scaled for human reference. Time is a revelator and I suppose we agree, "only time will tell" goes our prediction. We comfort ourselves and promise one another that "time is a healer". The ancient greeks in all their wisdom defer to time as the "wisest counselor of all". But we only have so much of it, and like Dave Perkins sings, "we lean against time with heels dug in". How many on their deathbed beg and barter with time? All my possessions for just a few more days.
Not much else to say I guess. I hope these scriptures about the time we have now and the time we have left will encourage you, and especially me to trust God more, drink down each day with great breathless gulps, and to get busy about kingdom business, mainly loving on widows and orphans and the lonely and the crushed in spirit.
“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand.” – Psalm 31:14-15, ESV
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12, ESV
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.” – Psalm 39:4, NLT
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:8-9, ESV
“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9, ESV
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15, ESV
And the one that seems to stay in my mind these last few weeks...
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11