“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8
I think I know what he means by that. You have to have seen enough water under the bridge to get a sense of time. Today we watched videos from twenty years ago that my wife had digitized. The technology is dated, and she thought to transfer the movies from old fashioned video tape before the available tools of the trade become totally defunct.
Twenty years is not really a lot of time. Anyone of a certain age realizes just how fast twenty years goes by. Our kids watched the videos with glee because they saw themselves as babies. For them, it was literally a lifetime flashing in front of their eyes. For us, there is the other thing. We saw a lot of people captured on film who are no longer with us. We watched our marriage vows renewed when they were only at the ten year mark. We did a big party in the back yard and invited all the neighbours. For many, it was more fun and less stress than the original wedding. We laughed all over again when we remembered how the kids went to school and told their teachers that their parents had gotten married. We saw things which now, are no more except in love and memory.
And there’s the thing. They exist in a timeless way now, captured by an eternal love that blessed and embraced all those things long before we realized it. We thought that a lot of time had already passed, and we did not really think that hard about the future because at that age and stage you don’t consider that things might change.
And we were somehow right. The important things did not change at all. I am still sitting holding hands twenty years later with the one I renewed the vows with. That timelessness, where a thousand years is a day and a day is a thousand years in the sight of the Lord explains the weird sense of eternity I get looking at the video footage. It feels as if it was a century ago, and I see how much we have physically changed. At the same time it feels like it was yesterday, that so much of our lives has flashed by in the twinkling of an eye. Most of all I am pinching myself that in all the ups and downs of life we made it thus far. Looking around over twenty years, you can see a lot of people who have fallen by the wayside. There are at least three couples at the wedding whose marriage is no more.
Those eternal things were talked about in the marriage renewal vows. Faith, hope and love. They sustained us like an invisible umbrella over our heads then, and onwards through many dangers toils and snares. Time is a funny thing. It makes you happy and sad. In a report on personal happiness that was published last year, they reported that people at sixty or seventy year of age are more happy than when they were forty. They had some time to think about it, what we call memories. No matter what else is going on, the memories flood back and assure us that something wonderful in the universe is working. There are no mistakes in God’s providential plan.
There is this great big adventure we call family life. I was most surprised to see my kids cry. When you are an adult you hold in every ache and strain, thinking that somehow you are going to protect your kids from the buffeting and blows of life. But they feel every ache and growing pain along the way, and they get it, that love is valuable, that it is the only thing really worth having, that it takes time, and that it is indeed timeless. We are human. We didn’t get it all right, but we got enough right to count. It’s not about being smart, it’s about being blessed, and blessed is what we are. I am sure of it.
Time is a funny thing. According to the 90th Psalm attributed to Moses, mankind is allotted but three-score and ten years. For the layman that is seventy years. It’s not a lot of time really, and maybe not enough to get our lines down pat, in this fleeting drama we get to play a part in. But there is that strange sense of eternity which pervades it all. It gives me great hope.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.