Whenever the same concept keeps resurfacing in my life, I try to listen. Yesterday it was the eternal.
I was working on the final little self edits on my book. It was my self imposed deadline for giving copies to the Kindreds in order give me broad feedback. It would be the very first time anyone had read my book in its entirety.
But my mind kept going to my hostas. I had planted four special hostas from my mother in law the night before, and in the noon day heat I was worried they might not be in the right places. Over the span of my deadline day I blocked myself from editing by moving my hostas, complete with digging and rewatering and rearranging leaves, several times. By the last time moving them they were limp distraught looking creatures. Then I looked at all the little beds where I’d planted seeds, and my frail meadow drying up. Nothing was growing.
I sat down in the middle of my courtyard and my body felt like a clam shell clamped down tightly, escaping down into the dark mud. My thoughts were, My garden will never look the way I want it to. None of my seeds will grow, none of my hostas will ever be big and beautiful. And my book will never stop feeling limp and distraught either, it will never really be ready for people to see. (Because wasn’t it my book that I was really frustrated with? Hostas, free ones at that, should not deserve an entire day’s worth of worry.)
Then the Artists Way teachings in me sprung to life. Every word from the Sensor must be matched by an Affirmation. I know what I want my garden to be. I figured it would take about three years time for it to happen. I closed my eyes and envisioned it so. Then I opened my eyes and tried to see it in its glory state. Then I closed my eyes and imagined my book completely edited, a few drafts down the road. Eternal time.
I’d like to say I felt happy and alive and everything was right as rain, but I also envisioned myself still wanting something else that also couldn’t happen in three years time, and I fell into despair. Lucy once gave me a book entitled The Power of Now. The idea is that if you could just stop worrying about the future and caring about the past, you’d be completely happy. But that’s impossible for me. I am ever spiraling into panic and guilt.
I did send my book to the girls. I broke into a cold sweat and my chest started hurting. I knew a panic attack was near so Beau and the boys and I went on a walk so I could get it off my mind. When I came back I sat in the garden again and read the next chapter in A Severe Mercy. It was all about eternal time and what he calls “moments made eternity.” Davy had died, and Van was remembering her in his grief; the all of her. The Davy from the past, the Davy he had just been with, and the eternal Davy.
“How strange that we cannot love time. It spoils our loveliest moments. Nothing quite comes up to expectations because of it. We alone: animals, so far as we can see, are unaware of time, untroubled. Time is their natural environment. Why do we sense that it is not ours?” ~A Severe Mercy
That night at writers group Rachel talked about how her pastor’s wife had just died from cancer. He said during the time she was dying they had loved each other better than they had ever before. With the “transformation” looming, they had lived eternally, living out the resurrection here and now. He encouraged the congregation to do the same. This is something Beau has been discovering with N.T. Wright as well. The idea that heaven is here now. The eternal is here now. Inside of us.
“Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”~Surprised by Hope
And finally, Stephanie brought this Ecclesiastes verse to read last night, “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in our hearts.”
There. Full circle.
My hostas, my book, anything I feel needs more time…and in time will have me feeling like time has already run out…It points to something deeper and higher and grander than my mortal fingers can touch. The longing for eternal is within me, so I am filled with a hope and a dread at once: a clam in the mud.
I am very like the seeds in my garden, who have rainbows inside them (as Captain Jim says in Anne’s House of Dreams), but are having trouble growing. And what is the answer for all of my garden frustrations? Give it time. Time! The very thing I cannot fathom.
My next thought is one of paradox and annoyance: I hope in time I will learn patience.
I want to see through to the transformation. I want to be tranquil in whatever state I find myself in, because I am not a being held captive by the parimeters of time. My hostas are as they should be. They are tubers, and limp, and growing strong at once. My book is all of the little inspirations and ideas I’ve had, the draft and scribbles it is now, and a completed work. And I am who I am supposed to be now. I don’t need to see only the now, or be paralyzed by versions of myself I don’t like. I am all of me. CS Lewis says God is like a piece of paper and we are a like a line drawn on that paper. I want to see the paper. If the resurrection is here and now, shouldn’t I see it?
God help me to see it!