Tuesday, September 16, 2014

43: The Big Take Away

Gosh.  It’s my birthday.  Again.  Please tell me, where is the pause button?  So, last night, Brighton made a big deal of this.  “Mom— I want to be sure to kiss you.  I’m going to be kissing a 43 year old for the last time!”  and just before bed, “Mom!  Only 3 more hours of being 43.  Live it up because tomorrow…. it’s history!”  More kisses.

Oh yes, 43 is history, but it’s a good history.  Maybe the biggest event was moving every thing we’ve ever owned from one address to another with the exception of the patio cushions left somewhere near Central Market SOMEONE didn’t tie down on the trailer I was pulling.  {Remember, we fired our movers?}  Observant people tried to tell me- waving their arms, pointing behind me, but I just couldn’t make myself stop.  I didn’t even know what had flown off and I didn’t really care.  That moving thing isn’t quite out of my system yet….  I could tell I was all of my 43 years when we made that move.  Being settled in this home of ours for almost a year now is certainly a highlight of last year.  I like “settled”.  I like “home”.  

Moving into a new home may have been a big event but not the most significant— not at all.   Lots of life was lived out here— 22nd year of marriage, a 12th year for Julia and B is wrapping up his 10th year.  And I wonder how it can be possible.  This phenomenon of time passing… that everyone has talked about since the clock started ticking.  Life lived—- and sometimes missed.  Calendar pages flipped but no recollections.  There were times it seemed to creep along— when was that?  But it did.  I’ve not sensed that in years.  It’s clipping along and we have no choice but to keep up.

Psalm 90 holds this verse:  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. {verse 12}

Ever wonder, like me, what this exactly meant?  I like to count— to calculate because there’s no guess work in it.  There’s control.  And we all like that, yes?

But I know better so I looked up trusty Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verse.
“It is an excellent art rightly to number our days, so as not to be out in our calculation, as he was who counted upon many years to come when, that night, his soul was required of him. We must live under a constant apprehension of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the near approach of death and eternity. We must so number our days as to compare our work with them, and mind it accordingly with a double diligence, as those that have no time to trifle.”

So much for control….

I read a few books in my 43rd year and if I were to pick a book that was most influential, a book that I will read many times - and give away- in my numbered days was The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan.  Someone asked me a few months ago why I liked the book so much and I said you just want to crawl into it and live there.  Live in the “rest”.  I wish Mark were a girl so I could call him up next time I’m in Canada {?!?}  to have scones and tea.  Maybe I can talk Jeff into it. I just know he and Mark would be great friends.  He likes scones too- just not tea.  Surely they serve Americanas on Vancouver Island.

Anyway, Mr. Buchanan talks about this verse in chapter 5.  Hang in here with me— it’s worth it.

“It is a fresh orientation to time, where we think with holy imagination about how the arc of our moments and hours and days intersects with eternity.  ……  This is God’s time management technique.  There’s a right way to tally up days.  There’s an arithmetic of timekeeping and God must tutor us in it.  Wisdom is not the precondition for learning this arithmetic.  It’s the fruit of it.  Wisdom comes from learning to number our days aright.”

He ends the chapter with, “Most of us live afraid that we’re almost out of time. But you and I, we’re heirs of eternity.  We’re not short of days.  We just need to number them aright.”

This does not mean rigid time management, but it does mean intentionality, generosity, a slowing down, remembering…….. this is not easy, is it?  Just this morning as Jeff and the kids wanted to take me to breakfast, I find myself calculating the cost in the rest of our full day if I let them celebrate me.  Really?  Yes, it’s tricky.  But give yourself time to consider it.  To pray over it.   I do almost every day.  And as Matthew Henry states, “Those that would learn this arithmetic must pray for divine instruction.”  It’s worth part of one of your numbered days.

So that’s my personal lesson in my 43rd year-- and most likely from 44 on.  I was taught much, but that’s the one that vies for my attention daily.  Because I struggle most with it. And I think it impacts greatly the people around me— most of whom I love dearly.

“We hold time so tight we crush it, like a flower closed in the fist.  We thought we were protecting it, but all we did was destroy it.”

I want to be done with that.  When my “soul is required of me”, I want people to be able to say, “She numbered her days aright.”


Alyssa said...

Rest of God is a favorite of mine, and I love the reminders you set forth on "God's time management technique." I think you do a superb job of numbering your days, so may it become easier as you continue this practice.

Mike and Molly Spivey said...

I really deal with fear of my health/dying quite a bit. It has been a struggle since middle school when my mom thought I may be having an appendicitis. For YEARS every time I feel a pain, twitch in my right side I already assume it's that appendix about to burst! ha!
Since then my fears have grown to other fears. Until there is heart change fear will just give way to other fears. Really enjoyed this quote: "We hold time so tight we crush it, like a flower closed in the fist. We thought we were protecting it, but all we did was destroy it.”

Lizzy R. said...

oh wow. Between your post, Buchanan's words, and this last comment from Molly S. above about health fears, I am so personally convicted, exposed--I want and don't want to read that book, yet I know this one of my greatest struggles too--"And I think it impacts greatly the people around me— most of whom I love dearly." Yes. God's using this for good pondering for me this morning!

Emily said...

Woah. Conviction much? That gripping time quote. Yikes. Thanks for sharing this great post. Can't believe I am just now reading, but I am glad I am reading!