As the sun silently but spectacularly makes its exit, the lakes to our west amplify its massive ever-changing, ever-fading kaleidoscope: now vibrant gold; now orange; now crimson; pink gives way to wan mauve before purple becomes indigo. And each tint’s feeble attempt to hold our attention is dismissed by the encroaching darkness.
Homeward-bound commuters can compete for their precious seconds. I prefer taking time to watch all this unfold; as God keeps delivering daily displays of difference …
Venus shyly takes a brief curtain call on the sun’s behalf, as other celestial clusters set up more dominant positions overhead. I wonder if anyone on these specks in that limitless velvet blackness ever consider – or even notice - the reflected sparks of satellites and space-junk hurtling around this blue, Visited Planet?
As nature stills itself within this enveloping blackness, our hearing range extends beyond daylight limitations, for a nocturnal realm is quietly stirring to life. Yet this colorless kingdom’s covering darkness will also have to give way to an approaching, still-unseen dawn, when night-time mists will rise and melt in the warmth of a new day
Life’s day is also fading. For us, the crypt is closer than the cradle.
Life is simpler, with less need for speed – or greed. When we do go out, if we see an “all you can eat” restaurant, we go right on by; preferring one that offers “all you should eat!”
Memories: I have so many, and my memory is so good that I can’t recall the last time I forgot anything! I could take you back to my boyhood as if it were yesterday, but please don’t ask about yesterday yet. Maybe in a few years, when the recall mechanism may have kicked in …
Life was once much simpler. Without wall-to-wall music, or news or weather or sports channels - whatever they might ever have been - the local cinema gave us brief weekly footage of current events, just before the main feature movie started.
But that was then and this is now; and there's so much to enjoy…
To reflect on the love my wife and I have grown together; and to experience this love deepening and widening to embrace young men who seem unworthy of our daughters’ attention; but who win their hearts and ours. Our hearts are with them as they mature together through mistakes, bad decisions, good moves, new jobs, new careers and businesses; all in their full-time courses in the University of Life.
It’s learning how to offer our kids the right mix of space to grow and of support when they need it; as we explore the ever-widening horizons of being grandparents.
And grandparenting: rediscovering familiar things through unspoilt ears and eyes; enjoying miracles beyond any sophistication that seeks to explain them away; discovering the common ground of simple wisdom; bracing ourselves for neck-straining “biggest cuddles in the world!” whenever the family car pulls into our driveway...
It’s being disarmed by the innocence of their trust, as their tender fingers search through our wrinkles to somehow find a handhold in there, that reveals the precious purity of their open-heartedness. It’s learning again the beauty, the curiosity and the hope that’s tucked into Jesus’ exhortation that to become like a child is to reach the ground floor of experiencing his kingdom.
There’s inevitable sadness from seeing that on the world stage history keeps repeating itself, as political leaders, tyrants, activists and insurgents ebb and flow against each other; building their fragile, temporary empires while photographers long for the kind of extra wide-angle lens that could fully capture the ego of their subjects.
Life’s approaching darkness highlights our increasing aches and physical failings, as we realise our bodies are merely a temporary package to shuffle around in. Maybe soon these packages will be set aside with reverence and dignity. Only to be replaced with a whole new model - on the other side of the darkness - that will travel at the speed of thought; and experience constant energising and renewal within such an awesome dimension of God’s grace that we can scarcely begin to imagine it.
All part of his promise behind these aches; inserting wonder and anticipation into our limited understanding. A promise that redefines terminal illnesses as transitional openings to an eternity that’s worth giving your life for …
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