One of my favorite quotes comes from Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“Our Creator would never have made such lovely days and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.”
I love it for a couple of reasons. One, it reminds me that the beauty of the earth and the golden days we do experience are gifts from a loving God, telling us what his heart is like. It also helps me with the dilemma of “but why do they pass so quickly?”
I have a photo on my cell phone. It is an evening shot of the Tetons, taken during our summer vacation this past August. Like so many other things in my life, I have already grown used to the photo and don’t see it anymore, even though it is there every time I pick up my phone.
But I saw it again the other day, actually saw it, stopped, took it in, and was taken back to the lovely evening. A sweet summer moment with my family in a place I love. I was reminded of how good it was. But I was also struck by, “and how quickly these beautiful moments pass.”
It got me thinking about memory. I think God gave us the capacity of memory to help us enjoy the moments that in and of themselves pass so quickly. I mean, summer seems so long ago already, and though the time in the Tetons was a sweet gift from God, life has swept us downriver and the event itself is way back upstream, already faded from view. Except, I have the photo, which stirs my memory. And there I can enjoy it again, drink from it, linger longer than the event itself.
We are immortal, meant to live above time, beyond time. But we live in time while we are in this chapter on earth, and we are uncomfortable with it. Stasi and I dropped off our middle son, Blaine, at college a month ago, and it was such a bitter sweet moment. His boyhood is over. The river has swept on and all those sweet days are upstream now and we are racing further on. Why must the days pass so quickly? I want to enjoy them far more than I am able to.
Which brings me back to memory. I’m beginning to realize that I do not take advantage of this gift from God, this capacity that enable me to “linger at the table” in the moments of life I long to draw more out of. For they are always with me, and I can return there if I will make room for a moment to do so.