“One more minute.”
“No, Noah. Four more days.”
“Sunday, we go home?”
“Yes. Sunday we go home.”
Years. Months. Weeks. Days. Hours. Minutes. Even seconds.
Time. Maybe it is a relative concept. The past and the future really only exist in a version of one’s memory and in one’s hopeful wishing. All we have is now, and even now slips quickly into the past. “One more minute” is shorter than “four more days,” but it still requires the wait for what lies ahead.
First vacation in four years. Last week we flew to Wisconsin and spent time with family.
The bullies on Life’s playground, Unpredictability and Little Structure, spin life’s merry-go-round a little too fast and Noah grips the bars for dear life. “One more minute!” he shouts through clenched, grinding teeth. Anxiety joins them and jumps onto the spinning apparatus, gripping Noah around the chest making it difficult to hang on.
In the background, Noah hears me correcting him. “No, Noah. Four more days.” How long, exactly, is four days? Noah frantically searches for something to distract his mind for…”four more days.” Something familiar. Something to ease the weight of Anxiety squeezing his chest, making it hard to breathe. I might have to cry. “Sunday, we’re going home,” he confirms with me.
“Yes. Sunday, we’re going home.” I repeat him verbatim. Do I detect tears in his voice? Although Noah can look at a calendar and see the order of upcoming activities, “when“ seems to elude his concept of time. The only way to separate daily events is the “going to sleep” in between.
“Go to bed?” he asks.
“Noah, it’s four in the afternoon!”
Judah, on the other hand, has no understanding of “when” beyond “not now” and “later.” Later is vague, and the answer might as well be “no.” In their own ways, they both live in the moment. Although Noah can see what’s coming down the pike, he pours himself into right now. For Judah, the past is not relevant beyond what is familiar and needed to live presently. The future is irrelevant because it’s not here right-very-now.
In some ways, Noah and Judah do well to live in the present. How often have I found myself reminiscing those good days of old and wishing that life back again? Or how many times have my husband and I looked at each other when a smaller paycheck doesn’t quite cover all the bills for the current period and said, “just two more weeks”? What about now? I can miss so many moments that add up to “much, or most, of my life” if I do not find contentment now.
I do know this:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Memories can change like shifting sand and the future is never truly known. If He is the same always, then I can put my past and future to rest as I find contentment in Him, who never changes, right-very-now.
October 11, Sunday morning – 3:30 a.m.
“Noah, wake up.” Neil’s voice, just above a whisper. “It’s time to catch our flight. Are you ready to go home?”
Popping up like a jack-in-the-box, stripping the starched hotel sheets away from his previously cocooned body, he excitedly responds, “YES!”