Time. The one thing in this world, second to God, that is unchanging. It goes on and on, consistently—never slower, never faster. The seconds tick by, becoming minutes, then hours, days, and years. Time is the constant heartbeat in earth's history. It doesn't wait for the farmers to bring in their harvest before the winter. It doesn't pick up its pace when sickness strikes. It marches—always forward—at a perpetual pace, mercilessly unfeigned by expectant hopes and nostalgic memories.
Time moves on. So does life.
And sometimes, I'm painfully aware. Yet, even these moments of reality pass by all too quickly, and the sharp pangs of longing for times past retreat into the recesses of my heart, waiting for an opportune time to reappear.
I suppose I shall have to give an example. Enough of this abstract mumbo-jumbo.
There are stages in life (this sounds abstract too...but bear with me). Typically: baby, kid, elementary school, middle school, high school, work/college, family/career, retirement. It's the expected cycle of life. But what happens when you seem to be suspended between two stages? Perhaps mine is a unique experience; but what happens when life has moved on yet you are still in the same place, with many of the same people, doing many of the same things? Or to put it simply: what happens when only half of your experience has moved on? The result is dissonant friction between life and time—between personal experience and the circumstances affecting it.
In other words, this is what happens when Val Jacobson goes to Fountainview; makes life-long friends with her classmates, other students, and those she works with; experiences every joy and struggle that comes with school life, work life, tour life, dorm life; learns and grows so much in spiritual things; and becomes deeply involved in the music program. Then she graduates, only to return once more, not as a student, but to work and help as an assistant dean. Half of her experience has moved on—her classmates have left, school life is non-existent, responsibilities have changed. But at the same time, returning students and former bosses are her friends, the general experience and spiritual environment is similar, and a little bit of involvement in the music program is only enough to whet the appetite.
These are but a few examples of the dissonant friction between my personal experience and the circumstances affecting it. This period of "suspension" between two stages of my life has been difficult (that is an understatement).
But you know what? Time moves on. So does life.
Sometime, this period will be past. And though there are trials sometimes that cause me to wonder why I chose this road, at the same time there are joys and experiences that I would not want to miss. I've learned from past experience to live in the moment—to savour it while I can.
"The obstacles, provocations, and hardships that we meet, may prove to us, not a curse, but the greatest blessings of our lives; for the grandest character are built amid hardships and trials. But they must be received as practical lessons in the school of Christ. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character-building. We have a better knowledge of the working of Satan, and of our own power to defeat him through divine grace" (RH November 24, 1885, par. 12).Character-building, eh? At Fountainview nonetheless...
"In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings" (HDL 13.2). I can't wait until that day.
"...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21 KJV).