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time between times

I like moving. I like helping people move. I like looking at apartments and houses. Change excites me. One of my least favourite phrases in the whole world is, "This is as good as it gets." There is such a short-sightedness, false finality, and mediocrity behind those words that I have been known to shout out, "No, it's not! It gets way better than this!" when I hear it. There is a temptation as we acquire bigger and better and more comfortable situations in this life to consider that we have arrived in some way; that the struggle is over, at least in part, and we can relax. Well, rest is a good thing and a very vital part of life, but growth and maturation and development are never over. Not even in heaven! The presence of God is the place where the most exciting developments should be expected, where every day will be filled with wonder as layer after layer of his unfathomable character and glory are revealed to us.

Sunset and sunrise are some of my most favourite times. They are stunning and short-lived moments that speak of the hope of change. Celtic lore has a phrase that I love: the time between times. It refers to the dusk and dawn, when it is neither night nor day, when one is caught between light and dark, beginning and ending, death and life, waking and sleeping, and this span of time was seen as a portal to the supernatural.

It is that moment when we have stepped from the shore of a stream and are caught in mid-air, straining to set our foot on the other side. It is that snapshot in time when the trapeze artist has flung himself from the swinging bar and reaches out his hands to be grasped by his partner. It is that instant when we jump off the diving board and hope the water is still there when we hit it. It is not a safe place. It is the place of no turning back, of only forward motion, of trust and faith and perhaps if we are honest, a little bit of fear. And most assuredly, it is a window through which we often see God at work in our lives.

God created the world in such a way that this "time between times" happens twice every day. Perhaps as a reminder to us never to assume our present situation is permanent, a gentle nudge not to become so totally attached to our station in life that we are not willing to leap, to venture forth, and to stretch out our arms, waiting to be caught. Pretty exciting stuff, this waking and sleeping.

This is a sunset last January on Mont Royal.


shane magee said…
this is a great post matte. i like the 'time between times' thing - it's the irish in me! you write really well. strong, fluid prose. keep it up. :o)

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