Time

It’s almost May.

My balcony door is open. At 7PM the sun’s still up, there are birds singing and the sky is blue. And time is entirely out of whack.

It hasn’t been a normal spring. March saw temperatures usually reserved for July. When the temperature went back down to normal levels, the part of my brain that marks seasons by weather thought it was fall. Plants were just as confused: lilacs are supposed to bloom for Mother’s Day, not Easter.

It’s almost May, and I was drawing up my checklist for work, and three months out was August, and that was all wrong.

Yet the timing has been good.

I wasn’t expecting to move until May or June, and April 1st I took possession of a townhouse. I wasn’t expecting to have a mortgage, either. Tomorrow my parents get back from dividing my grandparents’ estate, and Grandma’s piano is going straight to my new living room. No stairs to haul it up, as I would have had in an apartment. Grandma’s kitchen is supplying mine: she would be pleased to know that. I can pick my moving day at leisure.

Days have slipped away from me. Entire weeks have gone missing. I don’t know how long it’s been since anything. I count out the time and don’t believe the answer.

Life’s been syncopated.

It’s only April. I look at six months ago and it feels like a lifetime. I’ve been down all kinds of roads since then, seen things I’d never seen before, experienced what had before been theory. Sometimes I remember that how I feel now is not “normal”. I’m pretty sure I’m not going back to how I was before, and I’m just as sure that where I’m headed is very different from my current spot.

Sometimes when I take a long walk, I look back and wonder at how I could possibly have got so far on my own two feet.

This week I pondered the idea that “sacrifice” could mean giving up my desire to be always producing, always the giver and never the receiver, that it can be a sacrifice to close my wallet and blank out my schedule. That sometimes you have to let someone else sow in your life so that you can give away abundance later. That I should give up my right to succeed.

I see the flowering gardens of other people’s lives and feel barren. The timing seems off.

People think that rainforests must be fertile, because the trees are so rich and abundant, when truth is the nutrients never reach the ground, because the trees are so rich and abundant. Prairie, though: The wetter parts of the Great American Desert can grow anything.

Nothing’s frozen the too-early lilacs off their stems. It was too hot too early, but then it cooled off. It cooled off, but it didn’t snow. The weather’s weird, but the weather’s fine. It isn’t as if I could control it anyway.

I’m standing too close to my life. I can’t see the shape it’s taking. I’ve got to trust people further back who can see the bigger picture, if I know they’re honest. Turn and turn about: the pastor says our church’s plan is “crazy, but awesome,” and I, standing outside the elders and the staff, say, “Where did you get ‘crazy’?” I was waiting for that announcement a year ago.

I need a time-out. Take five and give me space, ’cause I don’t have much breath left. Grief catches up in the quiet moments, and grief hurts, but it’s the pain of recovery, of bones being set and bandages changed. Give it time.

I read melody well, but rhythm not so much: I see the note values but can’t quite hear their beat. The drummer takes it up and my brain goes click! Fall into the groove, and you’ll never forget how it goes.

We’re small, and the pattern is so much bigger than us. We’re convinced our clocks will keep us on track and then worry when the numbers don’t make sense. Metronomes are great for practice and death to a live performance. If you’re watching the director, you’ll never miss your cue.

It’s nearly May, a gorgeous evening, and the sun has almost set. I’m not quite sure how I got here, or where I am now, or where I’m going next. But that’s not for me to decide.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” — The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” — Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV

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4 comments to Time

  • mom

    Time is a puzzle and a mystery. When we are asked to step out of our lives, for what ever reason, the measure of time changes somehow. Most likely with how I percieve itMaybe that is really a teeny glimpse of how we’ll experience time in heaven. Just wondering.
    Well written blog, seeing your heart encourages mine. : )

  • Your words are captivating. I think the subtitle of your page here is perfect…seeing the universe through the lens of God’s truth. You have a way with words. Keep writing!

  • Katrina

    “I see the flowering gardens in other people’s lives and feel barren.” So true. Probably not how you meant it, but we compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths and vice versa. My grandma is getting ready to leave this world at 102. My cousin has a theory that maybe our family lives longer, because we develop slower. 🙂 God’s way of compensating? I do not think God makes life fair, but somehow I feel like God will make it as fair as it needs to be. We cannot all have gardens full of bright annuals that are impressive, but really come and go. Some of us are herb gardens or shade gardens. Still with purpose, but a little less refined and flashy.

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