I taught my son to shave yesterday. I can’t believe I just typed that, much less actually handed him the razor. But I did, in a quiet, low-key ceremony without pomp, I handed him the razor. And now my mind seems to be stuck in slow motion, as if to rebel against some perceived speed infraction of life traveling by.
“Slow down life!” No response. Mist, indeed.
I gaze deliberately around my mind’s corners and see years stacking up like yellowing newspapers towering on a hoarder’s kitchen table. My eye pauses and strains to see wrinkled headlines of memories past. There’s one. It’s the time when Abbigail cut her own hair, hid the evidence, and with a poker face that would have caused the biggest, Vegas high-roller to squirm with envy said, “I did not cut my hair and put it behind the couch.” A smile.
There’s another. One of many tea parties with Emily no doubt, filled with high-pitched, but awesome British-ish accents, invisible crumpets, and names like Misses Dinglehoffer and Mr. Farggennewton. She starts college in the fall.
The problems of then seem so much smaller than the problems of now.
Images flash on. The happy scenes are many, but the trials seem no less vivid. Life can be hard on this groaning ball. There’s real pain here – big, bold pain that brings the gears of life to a screeching halt. Tears. Then the gears turn again, slower than before but gaining speed now. Normalcy, but not really.
God says it’s never meaningless. Questions remain.
We’re here, and then we’re not. Blink, it’s gone. So what do we do? Make mud pies and hope for the best? I’ll pass. I want more, I want to give myself to joy. If joy won’t have me at the moment, if the inn is full, I’ll suffer meaningfully. May it be so, Lord.
Christ reigns. He decides, not me.
I want Him to have all of me. And snippets like yesterday, when I pause and struggle to find my bearing because time seems to be winning, I want north to be Christ. Always, eternally focused. I want to spend my life experiencing the awkwardness of being in the world, but not of the world. Homeless, but homeward-bound.
My story… my mist, is part of His story. And His story is one of glory and grace, mercy and meaning. That’s the mast I’m nailing my colors to. The joy I’m after lies in His story and is of the all-sufficient, deep, abiding type. No cheap thrills, no emotional highs, no shallow platitudes…
…Joy that can break in on a small bathroom, as a father hands his son a razor for the first time, and sadness lurks near. Yep…
I did, I handed him the razor. A smile.
As the beginning of Advent draws near (this Sunday), I thought I would share the words* of Melito of Sardis, the bishop of Sardis in the 2nd century. In each of these phrases, he seems to have captured at least a part of the biblical tension we need to have when we think of the Incarnation. May these truths be a blessing to you and cause your heart to turn to our Savior in worship.
Though he was incorporeal, he formed for himself a body like ours.
He appeared as one of the sheep; yet, he remained the Shepherd.
He was esteemed a servant; yet he did not renounce being a Son.
He was carried about in the womb of Mary, yet he was clothed in the nature of this Father.
He walked on the earth, yet he filled heaven.
He appeared as an infant, yet he did not discard his eternal nature.
He was invested with a body, but it did not limit his divinity.
He was esteemed poor, yet he was not divested of this riches.
He needed nourishment because he was man, yet he did not cease to nourish the entire world, because he is God.
He put on the likeness of a servant, yet it did not impair the likeness of his Father.
He was everything by his unchangeable nature.
He was standing before Pilate, and at the same time he was sitting with his Father.
He was nailed on a tree, yet he was the Lord of all things.
(*Taken from Gregg Allison’s rendering of the original in his Historical Theology.)