Our kids have enjoyed the many adventures of Dr. Who. One of the most intriguing things about that Blue Box is the possibility to go back (or forward) to any moment in time. He witnessed Pompeii, conspired with Winston Churchill, engaged in a mystery with Agatha Christie, met Vincent Van Gogh, and saw the birth of the Universe.
I recently saw a meme on Facebook which asked, “If you could go back to any moment in time, what would it be?” And the memories began flooding in.
Our wedding day? The moment when I first looked into the eyes of each of our babies? The magical moment when our two oldest saw fireflies in the twilight for the first time?
I thought back to that one Christmas long ago when my brother Dave surprised us by traveling home on his motorcycle. I thought I would be the only kid at home that Christmas, and it just seemed so lonely. Seeing that old Maxwell House commercial always reminds me of it.
I remembered the mysterious night when my brother Tom (then in the Air Force) was stranded at the airport in Philly because of flooding and we waited in the parked car in the dark for what felt like days. Daddy slogged through the high water (who knows how far) to meet him…what a relief to finally see them both.
I think of more recent times when we were able to vacation in California and our kids got to play together on the beach for the first time in their lives. It was golden.
I find the most significant moments are not about stuff. They are about people.
It is so easy to become busy. It seems there is always something tugging at our sleeves, requiring our time. Here I am in my mid-50’s, coming up on a 25-year anniversary with my husband. Our kids are growing up too fast. There is a reason that songs like Cats in the Cradle resonate with us. When we begin to see more years behind us than before us, we reflect. I suppose if my husband and I were to choose, Time in a Bottle would be “our song”.
Thoughts like these leave me wistful…a word not used much anymore. Longing for simpler times, lasting experiences. A bit of regret that so much of life is taken up with “planes to catch and bills to pay”. So much of the book of Ecclesiastes has that feel to it too. I think there’s a reason that Solomon wrote, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
The 17th century English poet, Robert Herrick, put it this way:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more.” Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5
Life is a fleeting thing, a “vapor” as the Bible says. It may not feel like it today, while it is jammed with things-to-do-and-people-to-see; but one day in eternity we will look back and view things quite differently. We’ll ask ourselves how much of those years we had here resulted in wood, hay, and stubble, and how much of them yielded gold, silver, and precious stones. (1 Corinthians 3:12,13)
Amidst all the flurry today, let’s look for eternal dividends.
This poem by C. T. Studd is worth our time today.