Timeless Beauty

Who has the time?  That question has become the excuse that is uttered at the end of every sentence that starts with – “I should spend more time…  reading, praying, sacrificing, exercising, cleaning, cooking, being still, being quiet – but who has the time?”  Time as I have seen it has been my enemy – I have chased it, tracked it, beaten it and strangled it in an attempt to whip it into submission and yet time continues to elude me.

Has it really eluded me or have I forgotten what time is.  Have I forgotten that God is in all time – He is timeless – He is the master of time.  But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8.  And if God is the author of time – is it more time that we crave?  Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts writes: “I speak it to God:  I really don’t want more time; I just want enough time.  Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven or wild to get it all done — yesterday.” 

Learning in this Eucharistic way, the way of grace and thanksgiving, is difficult when you try and reign in time, attempt to box it, package it, advertise it, sell it – we get so caught up in time  that we forget who owns time, who created the earth to revolve around the sun, who created the pitch of midnight as the perfect canvas for the moon and the stars and who created the oceans’ tide to ebb and swell with the pull of the moon.  We are so focused on the hustle and bustle that being present takes effort and concentration.   

When time becomes my chain I am often reminded of the humming bird.  I have watched them gathering nectar from the long trumpet shaped flowers.  They are suspended mid-air, their wings thrumming in an almost invisible blur, yet they are present – singularly focused on the joy of their task.  The question I have to ask is:  “Can I be present?”  Is it possible to allow God, I AM, to be with me in that moment.  “I live full of the moment, right to outer edges.  But there`s more.  I awake to I AM here.  When I`m present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God.  In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and… holy.“  – Ann Voskamp

What we forget when living in grace and thanksgiving is that being in the present and taking every moment and creating a holy moment with it slows time – so that there is enough – there is enough – enough time to offer gratitude – to live in thanksgiving – to embrace the joyful, because doing those things brings us to the present and in sight of the holiness of God.  When gratitude and joy are present time slows to a moment; suspended, anchored, clear and we are connected with God.

But what of those days, when time has become the proverbial carrot that is dangling in front of us.

I knew the day would come – that I would have a day where there would be a struggle in my journey of dare.  It is easy to count  1000 gifts when your surroundings are serene – the beauty apparent in the babbling ripple along the river, each thrum of the hummingbird wing, each sun-dappled leaf, each rolling wave – each moment in God’s creation that becomes suspended in time when we slow down time with thanksgiving.  It is easy to enter each of these days with eyes wide open when there are no rough places, no stress of responsibilities, no invisible time-keepers tapping a stop watch and counting down the minutes. 

So what of those days when candy accounts for gift number 161 and you feel as if every moment is covered by a film of grit and stubborn stains.  Sinks full of dishes, and an office that resembles a war zone – full of paper and the tears of clients, because their hearts resemble the same.  When all you meet and try to help are overloaded with the pain of trying to find the normal with nothing.

How do you make your pen write “161.  sour grapefruit slices – thanks Maynards”  Is this enough, this beauty in the simple?  Is this the point in the struggle where I give up – let my ink run dry because, really?  Beauty in candy?  Or is the beauty that we have found joy in  taking the time to capture the moment and make it hallowed and sacred, is it this, that draws us into the wonder? 

A dear friend of mine who lives on the West coast, became my tutor in this – unbeknownst to her.  I took some time in February to visit her and spend time with her beautiful family.  It was a privilege to become part of that household – and a busy household it was!   A professional couple who, not without pain and heartache, had a beautiful, precocious and long awaited, active 4 year old.  Those busy mornings when schedules could dictate instead gave way to moments of holiness.  When the rushing gave way to heart stopping and time slowing  gratitude and joy .  There was always time for a kiss, time for a snuggle, time for a conversation laced with love and, of course,  one final hug on the steps of the daycare.  It was in those moments that I learned of slowing time down and uniting with beauty.

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into, to receive it into ourselves , to bathe in it, to become part of it.“ – C.S. Lewis

I am ready for beauty.

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