Perhaps Love

June 30, 2010

The memory of love will see you through.

                                                    —John Denver

Several years after my father retired from Lockheed, he began making tapes–a precursor to Playlists. He spent hours going through his own records, tapes, and CD’s, making selections, and arranging their order. He made copies for all of the family and labeled them DGT’s (or D_ _ _ Good Tapes–my cursing had to come from somewhere!)

Today, my mother came across the file for the DGT’s. It is thick and well-organized–naturally, it is my Dad’s–and holds the catalogues he made for each tape. They are detailed lists of the order of the music on side A and side B, along with the names of the musician, the composer, and any notes on the source. 

The tapes are diverse: the first one he ever made begins with Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace and includes Dvorak, Offenbach, and Hank Williams. The second entry says: Three versions of Perhaps Love (A) John Denver (B) James Galway (C) Placido Domingo and John Denver Duet.

I come from a musical family and what a gift that has been. My mother is a pretty amazing pianist and taught piano lessons in our home. One sister played violin, the other french horn. My brothers played clarinet and trombone, along with guitar and saxophone. Whenever we went on trips, we would sing in three or four part harmony, and the favorite part of Christmas for us all was singing the carols in our living room on Christmas Eve–before Dad read the Christmas story in Luke’s Gospel with his resonant bass voice–as mother softly played or Dallas strummed.

Soon, we will add a new person to the family, my sister’s wonderful fiance, Guy. When we gathered recently to celebrate the announcement, my sister-in-law jokingly asked him, But do you sing?! We all laughed.

My dad was the only one who didn’t play an instrument–although he did take up the harmonica in his later years. But there never has been a greater lover of music than him. He would sit for hours at the end of the sofa with his head leaned back and his eyes closed listening to his extensive collection: classical, popular hits from the 40’s, sacred, even some country–if it was good.

As a teenager, one of the greatest gifts he gave me and my siblings, was to listen to ‘our’ music with us in the living room. James Taylor, John Denver, Judy Collins became musicians he loved too.

Now he has dementia. Thankfully, it is not severe, but it has changed his habits. He no longer sits in the living room enjoying music but in the den where he watches TV. He pushes the remote to change the channels and turns it off and on in degrees of disgust, interest, or boredom.

But he still whistles. And I will occasionally hear mother and him sing an old tune together. When he goes to church, he’ll remark “Wonderful” after a particularly good choral piece or piano solo.

In the front of the DGT folder I picked up today were the words to Perhaps Love by John Denver. The lyrics are poignant and sing out to me this afternoon as I remember all the gifts my Dad has given and continues to give to me:

Perhaps love is like a resting place, a shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort, it is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble when you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window, perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer, it wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself and don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Love to some is like a cloud, to some as strong as steel
For some a way of living, for some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on and some say letting go
And some say love is everything, and some say they don’t know

Perhaps love is like the ocean, full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside, thunder when it rains
If I should live forever, and all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Some say love is holding on and some say letting go
Some say love is everything and some say they don’t know

Perhaps love is like the mountains, full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it’s cold outside, thunder when it rains
If I should live forever, and all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

We don’t know what the future holds for my daddy–or for any of us for that matter. But I am sure of this… the memory of love–and music–will see us through.

 P.S. You may enjoy googling Perhaps Love and listening to John Denver and Placido Domingo’s wonderful duet of it on youtube.                                                        

                        

Exposed

June 29, 2010

I promise I’m not trying to jerk you around by writing another blog today. I just don’t know any other way to live. Let me explain:

Writing helps me process and is a vital expression of my soul. It connects me, not only to you and to myself, but to God. For God is the Creative Spark in all of us and simply will not go out. No matter how hard we try to extinguish that tiny flame.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t write or talk or intentionally live in this connection, it is still there. We are all connected, as much as we may wish otherwise. And what any of us does affects others beyond our wildest imaginings.

So, I am back at it. I know no other way to live.

The difficult part of writing a blog is that it is so public. I could choose to write privately, as I have for years in the past, but this daily ritual of coming to the computer, sleepy-eyed and vulnerable, knowing that you may also be getting up, getting your coffee, and soon will read my words has become a part of the fabric of my life–a type of tapestry daily woven.

What you are discovering, if you didn’t already know, is how worn and uneven that tapestry can be, at times even coming unraveled. We all have our breaking points, our mighty fine threads, which feel like they will disintegrate or end. The spool is empty.

But then, someone has the audacity to pray and another writes an email or sends a message and another calls me on the phone and, lo and behold, a knot is formed. Another thread is tied on.

Damn it. (I mean darn it, my mother has told me not to cuss so much). I guess I’ll keep writing a blog for at least another day.

When I was in college, I took a class on photography. I used to spend hours in the dark room, sometimes all night, alone with the smell of chemicals, the enlarger, the negatives. It was comfortingly quiet and dark and I loved it.

I loved watching the miracle which occured everytime I immersed the exposed paper in the developer. Slowly, right before my eyes, pale gray shadows would appear and grow stronger, more distinct. Ideally, the shadows would become shapes as black and white contrasted one another and together formed the image.

I guess that is what I want to say this morning. We are all black and white, we are all light and dark, we all need a developer and the slow and time-consuming process of becoming the image God intends. And we all need one another when we grow tired or faint.

Yesterday, I was standing in line at the grocery store. A woman was checking out with her two sons. They were twins about age ten. I loved watching them off to the side having their own little conversation, smiling, wandering off and then coming back together. They helped their mom push the carts to the car.

The checkout lady said she had twin brothers and when they were working on a project together, if one or both got mad, they would simply destroy the project. I asked her “Why?” She said because they would rather destroy their project than hurt one another.

That is the question and the blog today: Can I live with my twin this morning without destroying her? Can you?

All good things come to an end.

And if there was any ‘goodness’ in my blog, then I give the glory to God, for I did pray each morning about what to say and tried to let God press the keys.

It is 1:17 AM. I have spent the day with my sons and husband. I am tired and don’t feel I can go on as is.

So…I am signing off.

Thank you for reading my blog over the past several months. It was a good run and I am grateful to each of you.

Please pray for me. I wish you the best.

Peace,

Patty

Yesterday, I got a tattoo.

It is my first, and will probably be my last. I designed it myself in concept and the tattoo artist did the rest. It has colors and symbols and is located in a place only a lover would notice. I’m not going to lie; it hurt like hell.

Tattoos, or body art, are universal and date back in human history to the ‘caveman.’ In 1992, at the border of Austria and Italy, the body of a man–dubbed The Iceman– was discovered. Frozen in ice for more than 5,000 years, his body, clothes, and equipment were extraordinarily well preserved. He had 58 tattoos.

From body art discovered on mummies in Egypt, on a chieftain in Siberia, and the more widely known designs on Polynesians, tattoos are universal and so are their themes. People use the same ideas and the same way of expressing themselves all over the globe.

Hence, they become archetypes–expressions of the unconscious in primordial images. Carl Jung developed the ‘archetype’ in depth psychology. He wrote of archetypal events such as birth, death, initiation, marriage, and the union of opposites.

Joseph Campbell took up Jung’s ideas in his own as a mythologist, writer, and lecturer. Campbell explored and compared universal human themes and stories expressed in art and mythology from around the world. He is most widely known through a PBS series and book by Bill Moyers called The Power of Myth.

My tattoo is no different and seeks to bring union to opposites, much like the title of this blog: Mysticalunionincarnation, for Lovers of God and the World. Both in design and location, my body art expresses a lifelong struggle to wed the sacred and the secular, the mystical and the physical, spirit and flesh. I really like it.

I think about Jesus and the holes in his hands, depicted in art like tattoos. Isaiah 49 says,

Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?

Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands: your walls are continually before me.

Could it be that the writer of Isaiah, speaking to the exiles in Babylon who felt abandoned and forsaken, was speaking of a future yet to be, yet always present: God’s amazing love and care for God’s children throughout history? The wounds of Jesus are inscriptions–tattooed palms of a love so universal and eternal we can scarely take it in.

I am always stunned at the artist’s intuition. Yesterday, a new little friend of mine gave me a painting. She is little only in stature and age, but her art, her mind, and her spirit are big. She told me she had been thinking about monasteries for a long time and finally painted the scene she saw in her mind.

The perspective from the viewer is the dark, muted peace of a monastic church with the eucharist on a table to the side, the Holy Scriptures on the stairs along with ancient books. Over to the left is a floor lamp with a single exposed lightbulb shining, the lampshade is on the floor.

Where the altar would normally be–front and center–is instead a portal. It is surrounded by flowers and through the opening, much like an icon, one can see the brilliant colors of white and blue in swirling patterns. The paint is slightly raised from the canvas and is in clear contrast to the smooth scene inside. My friend says it represents chaos.

To me, it looks like an ocean and is reminiscent of the work I have mentioned in a previous blog about creation coming in the chaos, not an escape from it.

So, this is my blog today: That we are not so removed from cavemen and cavewoman, that human themes of life and longing and passages are universal, that tattoos are an art form.

I am glad for portals, for openings we glimpse through icons, paintings, the human spirit and creation. Through inscriptions on God’s palms and the holes in Christ’s hands.

Fly

June 25, 2010

In a world full of people, only some want to fly, isn’t that crazy?

                                                              –Seal

Fear of flying is always included among the top ten fears of humans. It is right up there with Arachnophobia, heights, public speaking, and being closed in.

Thankfully, I don’t have this fear and have enjoyed trips to distant lands–Colombia, Israel, Norway. The closest I have ever come to feeling anxious in an airplane was on one of those little two-seater private planes on a windy day, flying with a friend from Marietta to Rome–Georgia! It took all of ten minutes–well, maybe thirty–but it was short-lived, both the trip and the fear.

I remember on that trip how neat the ground below me appeared, the patches of farms and fields blocked off into squares and contrasting colors of browns and greens. The world looked so beautiful from the air, as we glanced down on forests and houses and streams. It was an awesome trip, in spite of my fear.

Lately, I’ve been listening to music online and making ‘playlists’, many of which I have posted on facebook. It has been great fun listening to lyrics and discovering new artists and musicians, recommended to me by my young co-workers.

Seal is one such artist–new to me with the exception of his big hit Kiss From a Rose, made famous in the Batman Forever movie. He has a song called Crazy with the following lyrics:

But we’re never gonna survive, unless…

We get a little crazy

No we’re never gonna survive, unless…

We are a little crazy, crazy, crazy

These lyrics say enough, but in the middle of the song is the following line: In a world full of people, only some want to fly, isn’t that crazy?

I agree with Seal. So many of us are fearful of flying, metaphorically speaking. We cannot make oursleves get on that plane, fasten the seatbelt, and allow the pilot, the aerodynamics of the design, the wings, the engines to lift us into clouds. We are earth-bound, stuck in the clay.

This morning I want to tell you about two women: Erica Jong and Isadora Duncan. Both broke barriers in art and tradition–Erica with her book of fiction, Fear of Flying, and Isadora as the creator of modern dance.

Both women took incredible chances, listening to their souls and inner yearning. Erica’s book is about a 29 year old poet, Isadora Wing, who has a sexual encounter with an anonymous stranger in Vienna. The book resonated with women who felt stuck in unfulfilled marriages and helped to transform attitudes about female sexuality.

Isadora Duncan, also an American, grew up in San Francisco. She rejected the traditional steps of classical ballet with its strict rules of posture and formation. She considered it “ugly and against nature” and stressed improvisation, emotion, and the human form.

Naturally, both women were criticized and were controversial as they blazed new trails, not necessarily by intention, I believe, as much as need. They needed different kinds of freedom–the freedom to feel, to fly, to soar.

You may know the story of how Isadora, the dancer, died. She was in an automobile in Nice, France, when her long silk scarf got entangled in the wheels and broke her neck. She was fifty.

Carl Sandburg wrote a poem to remember her, Isadora Duncan. It goes like this:

The wind?

I am the wind.

The sea and moon?

I am the sea and moon.

Tears, pain, love, bird-flights?

I am all of them.

I dance what I am.

Sin, prayer, flight

the light that never was on land or sea?

I dance what I am.

I think that is all God ever asks of us–to dance who we are in joy and ecstasy.

I think you have to be from the Deep South to appreciate our summers.

Not everyone enjoys sweat beads forming above lips indoors like we do. Imagine that!

But if you are about my age or older, chances are you grew up without air conditioning in your house or car, went to sleep with the attic fan whirring, and the sound of tree frogs and katydids out your screen porch.

On those nights which were so miserable you slept in underwear with your head in the open window, you could glimpse the lightning bugs flickering in the night, you could hear the distant bark of a dog.

I know..many of you are saying, “There is nothing I miss about those days, and even with air conditioning, it is still too #*&@ hot”. And when I am caught in traffic with the air vent pointing straight at my face, my legs stuck to the seat, I am sure you are right.

But I love summer. And I love Georgia summers particularly. I have such good memories of sitting at the picnic table, cutting watermelon on newspapers, passing the salt shaker, and spitting seeds; of stopping at a roadside stand coming home from Perry to buy a bushel of peaches, still fuzzy and warm; of swimming in a blue little plastic pool in the backyard and running through a sprinkler; of playing kick-the-can after dark with the neighborhood kids; of fresh corn and tomatoes, squash and beans and cornbread; of fishing for brim with my dad and watching the dragonflies light on my pole; of driving to a place off the square to get a block of ice to make homemade ice cream, and taking my turn at the crank, and then eating it! perhaps with some pound cake; of picking blackberries–pulling on long-sleeved shirts and pants, smelling the pungent bug spray to ward off ‘chiggers,’ tromping through the briars waist high, fingers stained deep purple, and the exuberance of the first plop, plop in the pail.

Summers in Georgia were sensuous and continue to be: the ripe fruits and vegetables, the bare arms and legs, the crescendo of cicadas, and the first cold swim.

I love where I grew up. I love it still. And when I sit at a traffic light and the thermometer reads 90-plus something, amd my blouse is wet between my breasts and at the small of my back, or struggle to go to sleep at night with the sheets kicked off, I still say ‘Thank you” to God for letting me grow up in Georgia..where Summertime is Easy, even with the sweat.

My Day in Court

June 23, 2010

Everyone has their day in court and mine was yesterday.

I arrived at 8AM in the traffic court for Cobb County. It seems that a large percentage of the county’s revenue comes from over-zealous cops who hand out tickets like a grandmother does cookies.

My ticket was for not changing the address on my driver’s license. You have thirty days in which to do this, in case any of you have moved recently. The problem is, for me, I haven’t actually moved. I am staying with my parents. My ‘stuff’ is in storage. Our little house has not received its final inspection. So..I am not really here, or there.

You may wonder, “How do you get a ticket for that? Did the police officer have e.s.p. or a special radar to catch driver’s license fraud?” Well, of course not. He stopped me for running a stop sign…which I did not. It wasn’t a full-out dead stop where your body lurches forward and then leans back on the seat. But neither was it a ‘rolling’ stop. It was a good, decent stop.

When I shared this information with the police officer, his response was, “I have been sitting at that stop sign for an hour and you ran it.” I had to bite my tongue from saying, “Don’t you have anything better to do? Maybe try and locate a drug dealer or wife beater or runaway kid…” but I didn’t. He gave me three warnings and one ticket. I tried hard not to cry and mostly succeeded.

But, it turned out to be an interesting morning in the courtroom and so, I thank him for that. Plus, my case was dismissed without even being charged a fine. Yippee.

(For the record, let me state–and I would swear this to be true on a Bible–some of my best friends are cops. Really. My future brother-in-law is a deputy at the local detention center; the local sheriffs in Towns County cheered me on when I was riding my bike in a triatholon; and when one of my sons was in a fender bender in front of the church where I worked–he was removing a pine needle from his windshield and, naturally, didn’t see that the car in front of him had stopped–and he didn’t have his driver’s license with him, the police officer told me to go home and get it. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the profession…and believe they get paid too little for risking their lives for us every single day).

But to get back to the courtroom, this is the story I want to tell: Most of the people in the traffic court that morning were like me. We were dressed appropriately, had jobs to go to, and looked to be fairly ‘together.’ Except for one man. His breath smelled of alcohol. His shirttail was out and his stomach showed. His hair was ragged and dirty. His face was red. And he talked loudly.

Some of us snickered when he was called before the woman prosecutor to be screened before the judge came in. Some of us almost cried. He was pitiful and though, for the rest of us, our problems remained concealed at that particular moment, the difficulties of our lives still tucked inside like our shirttails, his had bled over into the exterior, were leached from his skin like the beer he drank that morning. He was a walking wreck.

As it turned out, he failed the breath test to be considered ‘competent’ enough to appear in court that day and was put in custody to spend the night in jail. I hope his morning is going better today. To his credit, the judge spoke to him without disdain, and matter-of-factly stated that the man wasn’t incompetent, just his condition.

The sad part was when the disheveled gentleman began telling the judge about his situation. He was a brick mason and had been out of work for a long time. He laid the brick for the original courthouse in Marietta, he said, and I believe him. He hadn’t had a DUI in nine years.

Hopefully, he will receive some help. Maybe one day, be free of the bondage of alcohol addiction. I pray for him this morning.

But here’s what I really wanted to say: The man who screened my case prior to the judge’s entrance was incredible. He was relaxed and good humored and treated everyone with the same respect–whites, blacks, rednecks. I watched him for a while as he called out names and patiently waited for the individual to come forward. As he listened to each story with what appeared to be genuine interest. You couldn’t help but have confidence in his ability and know that he was more than fair. In fact, he gave the message somehow, that he was ‘for’ you. I prayed, “Lord, let me get him when my time comes.” Sure ‘nuf, I did.

There’s a song which says, When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. I just hope he’ll be there too. I didn’t catch his name, I think it was Jacob, but I would very much like for him to be the one standing at the Pearly Gates next to Peter when my name is called. He will look at me with kindness and treat me with respect and try and do everything he can to help my case, maybe even give a ‘wink-wink’ as he did, in essence to me yesterday.

Gosh dern, we all need that kind of respect. Whether we are outwardly or even inwardly ‘together’ with clean clothes and a job to go to..or as the man who spent the night in jail, our problems can no longer be kept under wraps, and are too great to be camouflaged, we all need an advocate or a friendly face to turn to. We all deserve–at the minimum–to be treated with respect.

There but for the grace of God, go I. I could so easily have been that little drunk man. And he, me–though that wouldn’t be a picnic.

There really aren’t any picnics in this life. At some point, all of our shirttails are out and we reek of suffering.

I just hope, when that time comes for me and I have another day in court, which I am quite sure will come, not so much in heaven but here, that the African-American man with the kind face will be the one to call my name. I will walk up to the front like I matter–my spine tall, my nerves calmed, my soul at peace. For he will have given me what we all deserve and need: basic human dignity.

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.
 
Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow your horn,
Start celebrating;
Right this way,
Your table’s waiting

No use permitting
some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away.
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret!…..

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!

As promised, the weekend was rich, but exhausting. So many people..so little time..so much conversation and noise. As one who derives energy from being alone (also known as an introvert, as opposed to extroverts who gain energy from being with people), I was absolutley exhausted last night when I finally went to bed.

From a choir reunion in my old church to a high school one that night to Father’s Day on Sunday, it just about did me in–however, today is a new day.

Back to the bakery. Back to the blog. Back to the ordinary days. Thank heavens for ordinary days, although I also love the special ones. I just can’t stay there, nor can you.

Most of life is made up of the ordinary and this is the Cabaret.

It isn’t some fancy dinner or broadway musical, it isn’t the lights and the music and the dancing of the stage..it is the here and now, the going to the grocery store, the making of beds, the sweeping of floors.

Life is a cabaret by its very nature–an entertaining moment where we are the players day by day, like a Shakespearean line in a play. We draw our breaths into diaphrams one at a time. We take out the garbage. We sit in front of the TV or read. We talk on the phone and reply to emails. We decide what to fix for supper. We check our ‘to do’ lists. We pray.

This morning, I need the ordinary. I need to be grounded by hot water in a shower, putting on shoes and earrings and makeup, driving to work. I need the voices of my co-workers and to hear about their weekend and to hear them curse (mostly in Australian, ‘bloody this’ and ‘bloody that’). I need to hear about the World Cup and how the US is doing. And the winning innings of the Braves.

Jesus spoke of the Kingdom in many images and parables. And He walked it on this earth. Sure, there were the banquets He described and the miracles. There were weddings and the non-stop flow of vintage wine. There were festivals and feasts on a hill with a tasty menu for thousands. There were healings and a transfiguration, there were dramatic stories of rescues at sea and even walking on the water.

But most of Jesus’ ministry was simply walking and talking and eating and sleeping and living in the ordinary days.

This morning, I am thankful for a strong cup of coffee and sitting in the cool of the morning shade. I am thankful for the train whistle far away and the car motors cranking up in the neighborhood. I am thankful for the hum of the cicadas and the black ant’s meandering trail.

And although I am grateful for a spectacular weekend, I am glad it is over and that soon I will go to work.

Life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the cabaret–the ordinary routines of the day.

We may not have gotten a lot right, but O My God, we were good parents…and an inordinate amount of the credit goes to you.

When people look at our children and then turn and say, “You guys should write a book on parenting,” I want to say, “Some of it was the genes, but much of it was the man I married. He is simply the best father in the world.”

Too many men are fathers in name only, shoddy imposters of a rich and powerful word. They pass along DNA, determine gender, and then leave. You, on the other hand, have always been present in ways your sons couldn’t help but take for granted. They have never experienced anything else.

But I know how vital your presence was and continues to be in the development of our sons’ destiny. They continue to succeed in the things that matter most–faith, hope, and love. And the greatest you gave them was always yourself in a never-dying, sacrificial love.

One of the strongest arguments in the theological world–where language is always shifting and ideas–for naming God as God or even the scandalous ‘Mother’, not always Father or He, is rooted in human relations. For so many, the word ‘father’ does not conjure up a loving image. In fact, the opposite is true as children the world over have been abandoned or struck or raped by their fathers. If God is male, and the men are like that, then of course the language needs correcting. Not to mention other reasons based on scripture and tradition, depicted in sacred art and historic literature which employ feminine images of God as mother, giving birth, tending, comforting, gathering her young under wings.

I’m just glad my sons–and new daughter–have never known anything else but a father who is kind and gentle, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. From pancakes every Sunday morning, sometimes colored pink or green and shaped like hearts and shamrocks; to science projects and car projects and life projects where tools were given, along with the knowledge of how to use them shared in great patience to empower children and young men; from carrying our sons on your back to meetings and letting them assist in packing food boxes for the poor and providing the opportunity to play as equals alongside inner-city children in daycamps; to giving them steady, wise counsel when needed, quietly, evenly spoken–you, my husband and the father of my children, have simply been the best.

I could never have done it without you..and need you still, in the wondrous and blessed gift of raising children and being parents. I can’t wait to see, one day, what a great grandad you also will be.

Happy Father’s Day, David.

The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong…so teach us to number our days that we may gain a wise heart.

                           —Psalm 90.10a,12

Recently I read about a 5K race which was named “a marathon.” I thought to myself, how ridiculous. One is 3.1 miles. The other 26. A pretty huge distinction.

Even I have run a 5K–and a 10K once. But a marathon? I don’t think so. It is for superhumans, people who have wings on their shoes. My brother has run a real marathon and for him, a seasoned athlete and longtime runner with an incredible amount of self-discipline and fortitude, it almost broke him.

This morning I am thinking about the span of our lives–mine, my parents, my nephew. Some of us get eighty, some fifty-five, and others only twenty years. Like writing, some of our lives are uneven. Some are edited and clean. But in God’s view, they are all seconds. We don’t have long here on this earth.

The Psalmist compels us in chapter 90 to reflect on the brevity of our lives. He writes our years come to an end like a sigh…they are soon gone and we fly away. I wish it wasn’t so, most of the time, but it is. Just try raising children, have them placed in your arms all wet and wrinkly in their naked charm, and then turn around and you are dancing with them at their wedding. Yeah, sunrise and sunset are not so far apart.

These words of a musician were written and sung many years ago:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever you formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust and say, “Turn back, you mortals.” For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

Our lives are but a dream, one day in the mind of God. We have only a few breaths to run our race and make the days count.

So, we best number them and realize from the moment we are born, we are counting down.