The strand of days
Here on the cusp of another year, I’ve been thinking.
I’ve been thinking about the strand of days left behind and lying ahead. I’ve been thinking about how hours become seasons and how time, so intricately charted, remains invisible, a mystery measured.
I’ve been thinking about memory and hope and how now becomes then and then becomes now and how someday always seems to be someday.
I’ve been thinking about the burdens and blessings of family and how the burdens can so strangely become blessings, and vice versa.
I’ve been thinking about my father, gone now, and my mother, fading, about how, after 30 years, my wife’s family has become my own.
I’ve been thinking about the work that fills my days, about co-workers past and present, and how space shared becomes lives shared. I’ve been thinking about how important is the time spent in the intersections of our travels.
I’ve been thinking about friends gone and friends here, about friends who are healing and friends who are healers. I’ve been thinking about the friends with whom I have watched the years unfold and those friends that appear as gifts for only a little while but always at the right time.
I’ve been thinking about the church and how our lives meet and the holy is discovered in our meeting. I’ve been thinking about sacraments shared and mission shared and meaning sought, and the strange, always changing, definition of us.
I’ve been thinking about how all this stuff holds together or maybe how it doesn’t. Is there a thread that runs through it all, through all of the days and all the memories and hopes and through all the moments? Or are we just the sum of our experiences and genetic inclinations and neural buzzing and deciding — bumping along with and into each other?
I prefer to believe in the thread and that we are stringing together something beautiful, the value of which is beyond measure.
Maybe it’s providence that flows through our time in this world. Maybe it’s Emmanuel — God with us. Maybe it’s the Spirit quietly at work in whatever arises. Maybe it’s God’s love and grace shared and discovered along the way.
But we’re together in this mystery, you and I. And when we stop and think, we begin to discern the glory of it all and the presence of the God who moves and lives through our strand of days.
This Sunday and every Sunday we stop and think. And, oh, how much there is to think about!
[The Rev. Mark Westmoreland is senior pastor of Fayetteville First United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, Ga.]