You can’t slow it down.  No matter how much you want this moment of just-after-rain-shimmer, when the baby is still sleeping and the kids are still in the backyard, preoccupied with the change of the world under the influence of a spring shower, you can’t keep it.  You can’t stop it.  You can’t slow it down.  Even though the tea is hot and the mist on the breeze tastes like honeysuckle.  And you are surrounded by a chorus of birdsong.  Inevitably, what will happen is this: In a few minutes, the sun will come out and suck up all the silver shimmer from the streets.  The baby will start to talk politely in his crib.  The kids will come up on the porch with legs of solid mud.

You will have to get up and do something else.

You will go in and wash the red clay out of little boy clothes.  You will make dinner and begin the futile effort to sweep clean the kitchen floor.  You will oversee the brushing of 8 rows of teeth.  You will try to make it go fast now.  You will try to rush through the diaper part and the jammies part and the “I want a glass of water” part.  But you can’t speed it up.  You will have to patiently answer every question and soothe every fear.  No matter how much you push yourself to get it all over with, there you are, looking for lost dollies.  You say goodnight, take the stairs one by one, walk to the kitchen, and finish getting it cleaned up so that you can make breakfast in the morning.

The morning will be full of soft voices saying,”Good Moyn-ing, Mama”, snuggles and little kisses and strong hugs.  You will try to make this part last as long as you can.

This is my life.  This is all the time in the world for me.

As of last week, Randy and I have been married for eleven years.  I wrote out all the good memories I could think of on notebook paper to give to him.  I just bawled like a baby (in a bookstore, to my great embarrassment…), sitting there, summing up the 15 years we have known each other in little phrases on the page.  (The time you gave me a loaf of bread with a heart balloon tied on for Valentine’s Day, reading a book together by the tree in the park, walking in the snow at our first house, the way you looked when our first baby was born, the time we sat by the giant sandcastle at night and prayed to God for direction…)  There have been so many times we didn’t know how we were going to make it.  So many times when the future was a giant question mark.  Looking back, it is like prophecy after prophecy being fulfilled.  Promise after promise kept.  Answers written with emphatic periods.  Exclamation points.  I can’t believe how time has flown, and all along we have been carried on the wings of grace and mercy and unfailing love.

This morning we were telling our children what it means that God is faithful.  It is easy to forget this, even when you have lived in seasons of miracles as we have.  It means that His promises are true.  And no matter what happens in this short span of life on earth, we can trust Him.  Life is so beautiful and so terrible.  The more beautiful it is the more terrible it can be.  He has a plan for making all of this right.  And even when we are staring out into the cold, blank reality of the future before us, God has been there already.  He goes before and behind.  He hems us in.  And it is going to be okay.

In time, the rain will cast its silver glow on everything again.  The honeysuckle will die back but will come again next spring.  There will be juicy blackberries and fragrant lavender blossoms in the meantime.  The quiet moments will be few and far between, but there will be more little kisses and strong hugs and the contagious laughter of little children.  We will fill page after page with the beautiful memories of this year and the next.  Life will seem slow, but all the people in the grocery store tell me to enjoy it while I can, because these little ones will be grown in the blink of an eye.  We are not required to go fast or slow.  Just to walk, step by step with the Spirit of God, not looking ahead in fear of the future, or looking back with regret for the past.  To take one day at a time, trusting that there is a purpose to this life.  That God is faithful.  And that His promises are true.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Phyllis Terrell says:

    Tears in my eyes while reading this.

  2. Adrienne says:

    What a wonderful testament to the texture and pulse of your life right now, Mack, and what a vivid reminder for all of us of how subjective our experience of time is, and of how a little mindfulness – whether things are moving faster or slower than we may prefer – can enrich our sense of each moment. You have such a gift for crystallizing a really simple-yet-profound point so that it becomes this living, breathing, palpable thing. Your posts resonate in me long after I read them, with a similar effect to the clarifying feeling caused by a bell or a gong rung before a sacred ceremony – which continues to reverberate long after audible sound has dissipated. Thank you for this call to attention, and for the sweetness you have shared through this essay.