Time in a bottle
Editor’s note: Karen Holden is the manager of the St. Paul Book Corner.
Have you heard of a star birthday? It’s when your age matches the day you were born. Mine was the year I turned 28 on January 28. Unless there’s a leap year glitch, everyone gets one. I’m claiming a version of this celebration. June 10 marks my 10-year anniversary working at St. Paul. I’m calling it my star staff-iversary.
With this milestone approaching, I realize how quickly this decade has passed. Like the line from the Jim Croce ballad Time in a Bottle (the theme of my 1970-something junior prom), “But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.” St. Paul, we finally found each other, it was the perfect match, but now I’m on the far side of 60. My friends are starting to retire. Am I next? Not yet. God, if you’ll still have me, “I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the one I want to go through time with.”
Do I sound confident? Maybe, and although I adore the place and age I’m at, time’s pace concerns me. Parents know the paradox of time, when, as the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. Truly, this mom and grandma sees the years rushing by, defying the heart’s attempts to catch and hold onto precious moments. Retelling a favorite story or enjoying a photo may seem to turn back the clock, but in reality, time races on.
Sometimes the clock or calendar moves oh, so slowly. If you’ve ever sat helplessly at the bedside of someone who’s suffering, or if you’ve lost a loved one and found yourself in an unfamiliar and lonely life, time painfully crawls along. Is time too swift, or too slow? Is it both? Time, you’re a trickster, a conundrum. How can we contain you, explain you?
American pastor, professor, and poet Henry van Dyke offers:
Too slow for those who Wait,
Too swift for those who Fear,
Too long for those who Grieve,
Too short for those who Rejoice,
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
For those who love, time is not. Now we’re getting somewhere. Scripture reveals:
‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Rev 1:8)
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt 28:20)
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (1 John 4:16)
God’s presence and love are timeless and limitless. That’s all we really need to know. Have faith. God’s grace will shine.