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Like a Stream

Nina Vanska | The Voice of Zion May 2021 --

Is time something we have control over? We often think we do. It is valuable; therefore, we have our calendars and reminders, timers and stopwatches. Time moves on, like a stream, fast forward, it seems. We are on a journey through the time that has been given to each of us whether long, short, rough or smooth. However, we are not holding the controls, even if we would wish to. Here in what may be called mid-life, I recall that once there was a time when I really thought the ‘pause’ button had jammed.

I lay in a hospital bed when expecting our first child, for weeks. Weeks. I just lay there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an everlasting present moment. The clock ticked on the wall, but it had no significance. The ceiling had little holes in the white panels, lots of holes. I got lost like a child trying to count them as a way to pass time. Eventually it became just as hopeless as trying to count the stars in the sky. I figured that Abraham was at least encouraged by the innumerable stars; those holes had nothing to offer me, not a promise, not even an escape. The highlights of those days in bed were few, and really, I only looked forward to one: the next time my husband would come by. (I promised myself I would visit lonely people in the hospital after I got out. I haven’t done too well.) I looked out the window; it was confusing to see other people going on with their lives. I felt like they should stop. But I had no remote control. I could only watch and wait.

Since then, I have observed how the stream of life keeps moving. The moments of trial always pass, like rocks scraping the bottom of a canoe, and the swift waters carry us forward. There are again moments of childlike screams of joy, and again smoother waters, those mellow moments. In the joyous moments we would like time to stop, ride those waves over again. Life moves on. We may yearn for something behind the approaching bend, times of festive moments. Perhaps it is a milestone in life, perhaps a special occasion. Today, more than anything, I would like to see the preparations of summer services, the singing with brothers and sisters in faith, talking about the way and the journey, listening to God’s Word, feeling the sun in my face. However, we cannot speed up time. We are left to live in the moment, often forgetting to see the birds fluttering about in their daily duties, the sun between the trees, the silence.

We have no fast forward, we have no replay (from the cassette-era, I find myself suggesting ‘rewind’), we have no stop, nor even pause. But now, during the pandemic, I feel that God who has the controls, has hit ‘pause’ for many of us. Some may feel the pause is getting old and would like to be done with this. However, it is good to stop and consider what life really is about. Instead of paddling a canoe in rapids in the rush of time, we can now just enjoy the little ripples, maybe even lift the paddle and look around. Nature speaks to us in its calm rhythm of seasons. We are a part of this creation – can we not be a part of the calmness of it?

Pause to look around. In your mind, ‘record.’ There are loved ones, friends, perhaps even a lonesome soul, looking for a bit of our valuable time.

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