Editorial: In the eyes of a timeless God
Three years ago on this page I wrote about the quiet dread I felt at the imminent prospect of our firstborn going away to university and the dawning era of the empty nest. Now he is completing his degree, and I have just driven Secondborn back at the end of his first year. (To be accurate, I drove his stuff home, as I was passing. He had one last party to go to.)
It is a strange thing how fast time goes as you get older. I remember my (first) three years as a student as a vast swathe of my life. It was a glorious stretch of years, countless incidents, life-shaping discoveries, so many faces and names, academic ups and downs, emotional sky rockets and emotional car crashes.
Rowing on Grasmere. Learning to cook – mainly tuna. Discovering I was now living in a town where people talk to strangers. Being absurdly elected Christian Union treasurer. Sliding essays under the tutor’s door at 8.50am in the hope that that still counted as 5pm the previous day. Falling in love. Performing my songs. Walking a mile in the rain to get £5 out of the cashpoint machine.
Now three years is no time at all. Three years from now and three years ago are both basically now. You have to pay attention because, if you lose concentration for a minute, the next thing you know it will be the 2030s. Secondborn thinks that after one year he is already coming to the end of an epic chapter in his life. I’m just glad I didn’t blink.
When I feel like this, I remember the teaching of the prophet Ferris Bueller, who at the age of 17 already grasped the truth: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ I want to pay attention. I want to make the most of every God-given moment of sunshine, friendship or summer flowers.
But I also remember the earlier prophet who said, depending on your translation: ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the human heart.’ My heart’s desire is not just to seize the day but to be part of something that lives beyond my own life, and is of worth in the eyes of a timeless God.
This article was published in the July/August 2022 edition of Reform