As I look back on this year, I am starting to feel it. My feet tingle as the angry rumble of the mighty engine begins to rise. Up until now it was just getting started. Now it roars once in a while, threatening to set me into the speed of higher gears. I sense the wind more vividly gliding by.
“You’re kidding right? Your only 26! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you!”
Ya. Thats what you thought too. And then that same fiery beast sent you marriage and kids and a mortgage and off you went, the wind just screaming past your (y)ears, you hanging on for dear life.
And now you’re 50.
Looking back, trying to take things slower, trying to make it more meaningful.
N.D. Wilson, in his book Death By Living, writes that “Time is that harsh current that thrusts us down the rapids of narrative causation.” The story of our lives unfolds at a speed that we cannot control. We are a little paper boat in the storm of the universe, surrounded by forces far beyond our control. As I said, this year, I am really beginning to feel that. As I consider the speed of things around me it is overwhelming. I am little. I am powerless. How do I know I am living it correctly? I only get one shot. What if I screw it up?
And yet even as I pause to ask the questions, the current, as Wilson says, rages on. Time has no mercy to me and my queries. The train steams on, not caring whether I have had a chance to put all my things into their little compartments. Time reminds me that I am merely a passenger in this universe, not the master.
And yet despite the fact that I am little and I am stuck in time and I am powerless over it, time also reminds me of my weight. Wilson continues, “True we are mortals…but we are also active. We have been shaped in the Shaper’s image. We are creators…We are the present. We are the now. We are the razor’s edge of history. The future flies at us and from that dark blur we shape the past. And that past is forever.”
The lives we touch, the words we say, the things we do today – can never be undone. We are little, but we are also great. We have no power over the big questions of life, and yet we cannot but ask them and seek their answers. There is something about us that is passing and momentary, and there is something about us that is eternal, weighty and meaningful.
This also, is where I once again see the profound relevance of Jesus and his story in my present predicament. He is a story of eternity that happened in time. He is the Word of God made flesh. He created history and yet he came into history to tell us about it. He limited himself to show us the way to that eternal home to which we long. He was weak and frail and yet he made his eternal stamp on history.
That is my reflection on this quickly fading year. Yes I am finite, yes I am little, yes I don’t understand everything. And yet I cannot but do and speak and write and think. As the train of time flies on I make eternity every day. This cannot be undone. And though I am weak I have with me on the ride the very One who built the tracks themselves. I look to him alone as I leave my little but great marks in the story that unfolds around me.
Wilson, N. D. (2013-05-14). Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.