All Kinds of Time
I've been having a lot of conversations lately about the nature of time. Most of the conversations are centered around the fact that time seems to be acting funnier than usual during this COVID crisis.
As in, it feels like it's crawling by most days, and then all of a sudden it's the end of July and you don't remember what happened to June. Plus you also don't really know what day it is---at least not enough to stake your life upon it.
There is this song that I heard the other day, and the lyrics just captured me. It's by the group Fountains of Wayne, which are perhaps most famous for their song "Stacy's Mom" from the early 2000's.
Here's the lyrics to another song from that same album, entitled "All Kinds of Time:"
All Kinds of TimeThe clock's running downThe team's losing groundTo the opposing defenseThe young quarterbackWaits for the snapWhen suddenly it all starts to make senseHe's got all kinds of timeHe's got all kinds of time...He takes a step backHe's under attackBut he knows that no one can touch him nowHe seems so at easeA strange inner peaceIs all that he's feeling somehowHe's got all kinds of timeHe's got all kinds of time...He thinks of his motherHe thinks of his bride-to-beHe thinks of his fatherHis two younger brothersGathered around the widescreen TVHe looks to the leftHe looks to the right...And there in a golden ray of lightIs his open manJust like he plannedThe whole world is his tonightHe's got all kinds of timeHe's got all kinds of timeSongwriters: Schlesinger Adam L/ All Kinds of Time lyrics © Vaguely Familiar Music, A・k Company Limited
I just love this song for so many reasons. It uses a phrase that you hear pretty often during the television broadcast of football games when the quarterback drops back to pass. The announcer will say, "He's got all kinds of time!"
In reality, the time that elapses from the snap of the football until a QB sees his open receiver is about 2.5-3 seconds in the pro and collegiate levels, and about 4 seconds for high school players.
The song lets us into the head of a young QB thinking about his charmed life over the course of four seconds---and then to the golden moment when he hits the receiver with a pass, which we presume will be caught, making a hero out of the QB.
Underneath the surface of the story the lyrics unfold is a very hard, very difficult truth: All of the things the young man is holding on to, the good things in life and his heroic moment... they are as fleeting as those four seconds.
We can try with all of our might to keep time from moving, and to hold on to our memories, the ones we love, to precious moments we want to last forever... but it just keeps moving, doesn't it? Until we realize that the belief that we've got all kinds of time was always an illusion.
If the devo ended right here, that would be a real bummer, wouldn't it?
It doesn't. In fact, there's something extraordinarily comforting in the realization that we can't keep time from continuing it's slow-then-fast march forward.
But we have to embrace our frailty and finitude first. We have to acknowledge the truth that is found in verses like James 4:14, which reads:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
When we finally get this, we suddenly discover that we actually do have "all kinds of time."
We have all kinds of time to do good in the world.
We have all kinds of time to choose love over hate.
We have all kinds of time to tell our loved ones we love them.
We have all kinds of time to be still and know that God is God... and we are not.
We have all kinds of time to seek justice and equality for all people.
We have all kinds of time to share the story of how we came to stumble after Jesus.
We have all kinds of time to become the people we long to be.
We have all kinds of time.
Because when you let go of all of the things that keep you from being your truest self... When we let go of worry, anxiety, anger, bitterness, grief, pride... when we let go of all of it we suddenly discover more time, more space in our head and heart to focus on the things that last forever.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.