Well. Here we are again. Summer is gone and with each falling leaf gently dancing to the ground, the grey, chill days of winter move closer. Already, the rush of Christmas is in the background, with the anticipation of Thanksgiving just ahead. And while we are grateful and look forward to the joy this time of year brings, “Weren’t we here just yesterday?” moves in whispers around us—a startling reminder that our lives are fleeting and truly, just a breath. (See Psalm 39:5.)
When I was a little girl, time seemed to barely move. The lazy, hot days of summer felt as if they were never ending, the minutes, ticking by in slow motion. The start of school after Labor Day was a momentous, happy occasion. Heralded the week before by the letter from the principal announcing the much anticipated home room assignments, the telephone jangled with excitement as my best friends called to see if we were together again, one more time.
Life felt more gentle. Maybe it’s because I have rounded the bend past fifty and the years now catapult by in leaps and bounds. Or perhaps it’s that the technology of today was not even on the horizon when I was younger, but the swift passage of time that seemed to plague the adults in my life back then—I remember my mom and dad talking about how quickly the years went by—was somehow held at bay from entering my world.
Now, it seems to be part of everyone’s norm. No age is immune from the phenomena of time moving through life at warp speed. The result. We are in non-stop motion and commotion. Kids and adults alike go from one thing to the next. Carpools to schools, to luncheons, to meetings, to telephone calls, to texts, to homework, to video, to sports. Ending in fit-filled sleep, we wake up to do it again. And again. And again.
The answer isn’t simply to stop. We have all tried and have only succeeded for a minute or two. The problem is that the merry-go-round we all seem to be on doesn’t even pause. Instead, we find ourselves hanging on for dear life wishing we could just take a breath.
Have you ever found yourself on a fast-spinning ride at the amusement park? When it first starts to go around, excitement is high. Laughter, smiles, and squeals of delight fill the air. But the faster it goes, the less fun it feels. Stomachs get queasy and if truth be told, most everyone’s secret thought, whether they admit it or not, is Please stop. Please let me off. Please let my feet touch the ground one more time.
Besides not getting on in the first place—but I do, leaving wisdom fading fast in the rearview mirror—I have found what keeps me from enthusiastically begging at the top of my lungs for someone to stop this thing, is to focus on one spot. Whether it’s the girl sitting two seats ahead of me whose hair strangles her as it whips around her face and into her mouth, or the design on one of the cars in front of me, keeping my eyes fixed, helps me to let go of the fear that I won’t make it through. That the hilarious image of looking like a doofus as I scream uncontrollably won’t be my only lasting legacy.
Somehow this translates into the crazy, frenetic ride of life some of us find ourselves on. Not wanting anyone to see how truly afraid we are, we try to hide in the same busyness we really wish we could escape. Feeling helpless though, as we run from one thing to the next, we dearly want something or someone to give us relief.
Jesus promises to do that for us. Maybe that’s one reason why, when we are in covenant with Him, He is our Rock. Our Fortress. And going one step farther, to even being our Counselor. For even though everything is swirling around us, not only are we on His solid ground, we also can ask for His guidance and His wisdom. Making choices grounded in His perspective—He is outside of time, seeing everything at once—and His deep abiding love, when life is sweeping past at the speed of light, we can come to know His peace and rest.
Read what Psalm 143: 8-11 NLT says,
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.”
In His love,