by the Rev. Barbara Threet
Time is 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 eternity. (or ‘time is not’, in another version).
These words, which may well be familiar to you, were written by Henry Van Dyke (1852 – 1933), American author, Princeton English professor, and Presbyterian clergyman. I’ve been thinking about them a lot this summer. Part of it is moving in and out of a few time zones. Part of it is that paradox of summer days which often contain so much and crawl by so slowly, which then make up weeks that absolutely fly by – where did July go? And August is over half gone already? How did that happen? The days of rejoicing in summer do seem short!
I think also of the impact of Covid on our perceptions of time, as so many of the usual markers of the passing of time have fallen away, and are only slowly beginning to return. The rhythm of leaving for work on certain days and not on others, or attending the weekly Buddhist sitting, or preparing a snack to share at the monthly book group have been disrupted. Here at UUCGF, most of our Committees and our Board have met regularly during all of this – but sitting in our respective living rooms looking at a Zoom screen still isn’t exactly ‘regular’! Time has been disrupted, and re-shaped.
I wonder what time will bring this coming autumn? How long will a social time after service last if there aren’t snacks? How will we plan our calendar for the upcoming church year (and many years to come) now that we know how thoroughly our plans can be upended? What used to occupy our time – or mine, or yours – that has fallen away? And what new priorities might we set for how we use our time, both individually and as a community? I believe ours is a community of those who love, and who know that loving isn’t always smooth or easy. How can we use our time to serve eternity, or at least the foreseeable future, especially now what we know how truly ‘unforeseeable’ the future really is? Several years ago, the Steve Miller Band sang “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future”. What kind of future do we want to build – how do we want to use our time?
There’s only a little time left until we resume our regular services: May that time be kind to all of us!
Shalom and Salaam,