Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The long and short of it

It's the in-between time for students now.  Yesterday was the last day of classes for the semester (and the year), and although some were celebrating, many only groaned with thoughts of the workload ahead until the end of the grading period.  There are term papers, portfolios, and exams, and the sheer amount of work left to be completed seems impossible.  Students who are going on several hours of sleep are already planning all-nighters and forgetting to eat.  The time is so short, and yet there is so much to do that it feels unending.

From my devotional reading this morning (Common Prayer: a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals):

Walk with us, Lord : the journey is long.

Psalm 39:5 – 8
Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days : so that I may know how short my life is.
You have given me a mere handful of days, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight : truly, even those who stand erect are but a puff of wind.
We walk about like a shadow, and in vain we are in turmoil : we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
And now, what is my hope? : O Lord, my hope is in you.

Walk with us, Lord : the journey is long.

So much of life is like that, I think.  Time either flies, or creeps along at a snail's pace.  We can wait for a milestone that seems as if it will never arrive.  And then we turn around and another year has passed.  

It's like that parenting adage: "The days are long, but the years are short."  How can it be that every day is filled with the same routines and endless questions so that I think I will suffocate from the monotony of it all, and then I turn around, surprised that they've grown three inches and have passed through another phase?

We feel invincible and eternal, thinking we have all the time in the world, until a senseless tragedy stops us in our tracks.  We feel all-important in one moment, and powerless in the next.  We anticipate what's ahead, just as we fear it.  So much is out of our control, and yet we still try to micro-manage it.

Lord, teach us to number our days, because all we are guaranteed is this moment.
Walk with us, Lord; the journey is long (and sometimes shorter than we had imagined).

Help us to live humbly, and yet in awe for the gifts we are given, for this moment and this day, for our lives.  Let us live and work with what we have to labor with for this day, and not worry about what is ahead.  Tomorrow has enough worries of its own (and we don't need to carry them yet).  Help us to trust in you, and to allow our hearts and minds to be opened, to learn and to grow whatever we face because there is truth in what  Jen Hatmaker said in her blog post today (on a different topic), "We don't even know what we don't know."

Remind us that we are enough, and we have enough in your love and grace.  Let us live beautifully, freely, faithfully the lives to which you have called us, in your perfect timing.


  1. This couldn't have come at a better time, Jenny. Thank you for your encouragement! :)

  2. I love that prayer. It is difficult that in school (and in life) we find ourselves wishing time away because it can be so painful to get through!