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Drifting in and Drifting out

August 18, 2013

August? What about May? June? July? What about Summer?

That’s a lot of time to account for — four months of the year, one third of the circling of the earth around the sun. Surely the world goes round as it always does; the spinning laws which somehow hold us suspended in space, moving thousands of miles an hour, continue in their solemn rhythm. But we? We pinpricks of blood and flesh, scurrying to and fro on our errands of daily living — what are four months to us? Do we move with as much regularity as the globe on which we walk?

Of course not. The world turns — we run amok.

Maybe it’s not fair to compare the eternal motion of the planets to the smaller goings-on of beings who occupy just one corner of the universe. Some say the cosmos is a great dance. Well, the cosmos has had 14 billion years to learn the steps. Earth itself has been around for 4 and a half billion years. But human beings only appeared as homo sapiens in Africa around 200,000 years ago — a mere half note in the great symphony of creation. No wonder we sometimes stumble trying to keep in pace with the Maker’s melody. And no wonder our lives our rife with change and transition.

I realized this when I spent an hour and a half with my two nieces coming back from the beach. It was a van ride filled with deep uncertainty. Only a four-year old and a two year old can keep you guessing from moment to moment just what might be coming round the next bend. They are both golden-haired, innocent-looking angels, but as unpredictably wild as a Sahara sandstorm.

“Uncle Joe, look at me!”

“I’ve got my toe in my ear!”

“Get the coloring book!”

“Get the granola bars!”

“Tell me a story!”

“Make funny faces!”

“Now sing a song — another one!”

It was like sitting between a lottery ticket and Schrodinger’s cat. You never knew what was going to come up. It filled me with the whole crazy changing spirit of summer.

No season has more changing faces than summer, after all. Not only do we take a break from our work, our school, our usual yearly tasks in order to focus at least for a few weeks on travel, recreation or just plan relaxation; but also the day of summer themselves prove to be shifty characters. Some days are blazing sun. Others, wind and rain. Still more carry new allergies and new breeds of insects to plague us.

As our friend Shakespeare said about Summer’s shiftiness:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d

And we can only say, True dat.

My own experience of the transience of these past months, of the changes that take place, remind me that Jesus spoke about the unpredictable quality of reality. “Not even the Son knows the day nor the hour, but only the Father in heaven knows,” he said one time about the final fulfillment of God’s plan. Yet Jesus goes on to assure us: “Why worry about tomorrow? Tomorrow will take care of itself. Your Heavenly Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”

In a universe that glides between stability and chaos, random happenstance and miraculous providence, the words of Christ give more than assurance to us. They give us the grace to live the unpredictable Now of existence, in the courage of the sons and daughters of God.

Summer or not, here we come. In Christ’s name. Amen.


From → Musings

One Comment
  1. Linda permalink

    Thank you — I needed that.

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