A Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
……….He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Sometimes we experience time in a way other than it’s passing…..other than the counting of days and hours, minutes and seconds. As Frederick Buechner puts it, “a time we mark not by its duration but by its content.” Instead of measuring it by the clock we measure it by what happened within the time. A good time. A difficult time. A time of celebration or a time of sorrow. And sometimes a most holy time.

The holiest moments happen at times and in places we least expect them. We don’t create them, can’t plan for them and if we’re not careful….we’ll miss them.

Like a few days ago in the hallway of a hospital, where, without meaning to, several showed up at the same time to see a man we love. To show him we care and to let him know we love him. We took turns going into his room to hold his hand. To see his face and let him see ours. Back in the hallway we catch up with those we don’t get to see often. We give hugs and share tears. And we pray.

Sometimes we don’t realize how significant that kind of time is until years later. Like conversations with a new friend at a new job.

I hope Lyle knew what his time meant to me. I worked with him for a year or so. I came into the job knowing little about the construction business, unsure of myself and wondering if I was going to make it. He was patient and kind as I learned. Lyle was easy to talk to and we often had good conversations about things he or I happened to be thinking about. He had profound thoughts on life and was as happy to share them as I was to listen. Lyle was an attentive listener and was the only person I worked with to know about my writing for a long time. He encouraged me to keep writing.

These are gifts…..these sacred moments. And they may not look like what you’d expect.  They come in a conversation. An unplanned gathering. A planned one too. During your quiet time or in the middle of a crowded restaurant. They happen at home, in the forest, on the mountain, at work, in a traffic jam, in a hospital, or in a stable. Holy moments are given and stay with us after the passing of days and years because they change us forever.

As we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ let us remember and cherish that most holy moment and like the shepherds, “Let us go over……and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.    Luke 2:19

And like Mary, let us treasure these things and ponder them in our hearts.

Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and yours for 2018.

 

Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

A Love Letter

I found a letter in between the pages of one of my Bibles.  I keep it as a reminder of where we were.

It’s a love letter.  Not the mushy kind inspired by infatuation.  No, the only similarity to a middle school love note is the notebook paper on which it’s written.  This love letter is not the kind filled with dreamy visions of the future.  It’s not loaded with good intentions or empty promises.  No fancy words were used, no love songs quoted.  This love letter was a simple expression of his feelings for me.  And a surprise one, too, because it had been at least ten years since the last one.

Hard times caused him to write it.  We were struggling.  Not connecting, not agreeing, whatever the reason, hard times came.  We weren’t doing so well with them.  We lost it with each other.  We said things we meant at the moment but wish we hadn’t.  Things like, “I can’t do this anymore” or “do what you have to do.”  Words that made us wonder if we even knew each other at all.  The kind of words that hurt deep down.  Then the silence would come and sometimes more anger.  Most of the time the silence brought revelation, understanding, conviction.  It definitely brought regret.  I came face to face with my foolishness, my pride, and that brought its own kind of pain.

He chose to break the silence with a love letter.  I remember the moment clearly.  He didn’t say a word when he handed me the folded piece of paper.  He left me alone to read.  I won’t share his words, those are mine. But I know they were written in a moment of pure love, the kind you feel so intensely that you think your heart will burst. The kind we express when we love our best.

We are still learning to love well.

I have a long way to go.  But I’m on the edge of becoming someone better, someone more free to love the way I’m supposed to.  God is transforming me with His perfect love and I’m still learning.

This learning process seems painfully slow at times.  But I’m not defeated when I mess up.

John Piper writes in his book When I Don’t Desire God, “To be sure, our all-too-slow growth in Christ-likeness matters.  It is the necessary evidence that our faith is real.  But, oh what a difference it makes to be assured, in the discouraging darkness of our own imperfections, that we have a perfect righteousness – namely Christ’s”

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own”.  

Philippians 3:12  NLT

So I cherish this letter and all the other perfect moments we share.