When You Thought You Had More Time

I have been thinking a lot lately about the changing seasons, particularly as Summer is in full-blown effect here in Texas.  

Something about the Texas heat makes you forget that there was frost on the ground a few months ago, and you were bundling up to keep a freezing wind from numbing your extremities.  

I was reading a passage from Annie Dillard's amazing book Teaching A Stone To Talk, in which she reflects on the changing of seasons and the surprise that often comes when you are reminded of the passing of time. 

There was a line that struck me, and I've been kind of haunted by it ever since: 

I thought I was younger and would have more time. 

That line surprisingly resonated with me.  It also made me reflect on a conversation with a friend about milestone birthdays and how you feel when you realize there are probably more years behind you than in front of you.  

When you are young, the changing of the seasons doesn't mean much to you, except to mark the way you dress or the activities you do.  As you get older, you tend to ruminate on them a bit more and (dare I say it) relish them more than you did when you were young. 

And all of it is relative.  My friend turned 40 this year and admitted to some angst about it.  I shared that I felt the same way on my fortieth birthday; only my moment of angst happened fifteen years ago. 

Then I imagined that I'd crossed the Rubicon into middle age, and I felt like I hadn't accomplished all that I probably could have because of years of trying to figure my life out.  

But as I look back on it now, I feel some kind of amusement toward the machinations of my past self about all of those things, and I wish I could go back and encourage forty-year-old Leon to take it easy and enjoy the passing of the seasons.  

Some of you reading this might be thinking about when you were my age and are saying to yourself, "Ah, but you are still such a baby!"  

And here we all are, thinking the same thing that Annie Dillard expressed.  We thought we were younger and had more time.  

The more I think about this, the more I find hope in the Christian belief about eternal life, resurrection, and what it means to be human.  

Even though our life on this earth and in this reality seemingly comes and goes like a breath relative to the expanse of space and time, we are eternal creatures meant for an existence that transcends space and time.  

Our bodies reflect this. We came from Stardust, and we'll return to it.  Our substance is composed of elements that have been many things before they were us, and one day, our substance will compose other things as it enters the eternal rhythm of dying and rising.  

But who we really are, the spirit within us that moves from reality to reality, is forever. 

I don't fully understand it, but I feel it and choose to believe it. There are some clues to all of this within that longing that comes over us when we realize the change of seasons and the passage of time. 

We shouldn't be sad about this longing. It's just our eternal spirit reminding us there is more.  

And because life is beautiful and precious, we often mistake that longing as a sign of regret or fear over what comes next, which is perfectly natural.  Even so, the longing speaks to something deeper and eternal that we should embrace with joy.  

The world may be impermanent, but the Divine spark within us is not.  It is both older than we can imagine and younger than we can know.  

May this notion bring us all hope.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forever. Amen.  


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