R U M O R S # 596
Ralph Milton’s E-zine for people of faith with a sense of humor
April 4, 2010
FOR ALL THAT WILL BE, YES!
"A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)
Well, it’s here.
The day I have been looking forward to and dreading. This is the final issue of Rumors.
Last week, my friend Murray White was gently moving his hands over my body in a Healing Touch treatment to help my spasming back (which is all better now, by the way).
After the treatment I overheard him saying to Bev, “I felt a sense of emptiness over his heart – as if there was grief there.”
Indeed it is grief, felt more keenly and beautifully as I read the many, many e-mails from you, and opened the cards and letters made more precious in these electronic days.
It’s not a grief of regret – of feeling that I have made a bad decision and now must live with the consequences. It’s not as intense or as deep, but it’s like the grief I felt when I said goodbye to my sister June in the dim light of a hospital room – both of us knowing this was the last time we would see each other – and both of us knowing it was time to say that final, painful goodbye.
It’s the grief of letting go of something precious – a grief we encounter many times as we age.
On my desk is a worn and tattered Bible – the spine covered in duct tape, the edge of the pages showing the grey evidence that I’d obviously spent much of my time in the gospels and in Genesis. It’s irreplaceable – not only because of the many indecipherable notes in the margins, but because it contains a delightful and holy typo.
Joel 2:28, in all other Bibles says that “old men shall dream dreams.” But in my edition it says, “old men shall dream reams.”
Yes, reams of dreams is what all 8,231 of you have helped me dream over the last ten years. By your affirming notes, your provocative notes, your angry notes, your hilarious notes.
And I will keep on dreaming those reams of dreams, but the circle will be smaller. That’s what happens as we age – the circles around our lives shrink until they embrace only those nearest to our hearts – and finally enclose us in the circle of God’s love.
All of which is good.
All of which is as it should be.
Dylan Thomas wanted his father to “rage, rage at the dying of the light.” But I don’t plan to do that. The wrinkles on my face are the biography of a life that has been full and rich. They will never see a drop of Botox or anything that will deny those years.
My gimpy back and my troublesome heart notwithstanding, I’m in good health for a 75-year-old, and I will dream those reams in whatever life is given to me.
I am the wealthiest of men. And this is not a eulogy but a necessary leave taking. The time is right. It has to be. And this is simply to wish you God’s richest blessings, and to say thank you, and farewell.
“For all that has been, thanks!
For all that will be, yes!”
This is not the end of Jim’s insightful “Soft Edges” columns. But obviously, it is the last one to appear in Rumors. At the end of his column, you’ll find instructions on how to keep on receiving “Soft Edges,” and also where to find archived editions of Rumors.
Soft Edges – by Jim Taylor
As Time Goes By. . .
Time flies by so fast. Just yesterday, it seems, we had Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, then Palm Sunday... During this few weeks, the Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i and Zoroastrian faiths squeezed in their New Years celebrations... And then here come Holy Week and Passover, Good Friday and Easter -- like a runaway train bearing down on a hapless victim strapped to the tracks...
My friend Ralph Milton theorizes that this feeling of living in a fast-forward world is a natural consequence of aging.
When you’re just two years old, he reasons, a year is half of your total life experience. Waiting a year for a new bicycle seems like an eternity. When you’re 70, a year is only one-seventieth of your life.
No wonder time seems to go quicker.
Of course, it only seems quicker. Scientists who maintain the atomic clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, would insist that time is a constant. Time can vary only if the caesium-133 atom alters its rate of vibration -- and as far as they can tell, caesium-133 atoms have vibrated at exactly the same rate since they were created nanoseconds after the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago.
Which begs another question -- how long were seconds before there were caesium atoms to calculate them by?
But even without that kind of precision, it’s obvious that we all have exactly the same 24 hours, 86400 seconds, per day.
The question is not whether we have that time, but what we do with it.
When I was younger, I filled every moment with activity. I hated to waste a second. At the other end of life, in my father’s final months, he could spend most of a day doing nothing and barely recognize that a day had passed. Time became meaningless.
Maybe there are two kinds of time -- objective and subjective. Objective can be measured; subjective can only be felt. Time can seem to stand still in your lover’s arms, or when you’re waiting outside the principal’s office. It can race when you write exams, or you’re late for a job interview.
A friend was riding his bicycle along a city street, blissfully unaware of time at all, when the front wheel jammed in a sewer grate. As he vaulted over the handlebars, he recalls, he had time to marvel at the colours of the lichens growing on the concrete sidewalk -- just before he ran into them with his face.
Many people are skeptical about the claims of mystics, of all faiths, that meditation can slow their heart rate, their respiration, their digestion... Maybe mystics experience time differently.
At Easter, Christians around the world affirm, Jesus Christ “descended to the dead; the third day he rose again...”
Do the dead still experience time? How did he know when the third day was dawning? Or was his time in the tomb a momentary blank, a blink, a blip?
And how did he experience time after his resurrection? When time is no more, what happens to it?
Yes, you can still receive Jim Taylor’s “Soft Edges.” He writes that column for a wider group than Rumors, and would be happy to put you on the list to receive it each Wednesday.
There are two columns. Both are based on, but not identical to, columns that Jim writes for a couple of local newspapers.
Soft Edges deals fairly gently with issues of life and faith. Sharp Edges, which goes out on Sundays, is more likely to focus on current social and justice issues. As its name implies, it's a little more cutting,
Both columns are free. To subscribe to them, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe, follow the same procedure – send a note to email@example.com. If you wish, you can do it yourself by sending a blank e-mail (no subject, no message) to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
(For Sharp Edges, substitute "sharpedges" for "softedges".)
Many of you have asked about back issues of Rumors. Not all of them, but about 3½ years worth, are available on the Wood Lake Publications website. Go there and click on “Newsletters.”
Or copy this address into your browser and it’ll take you there directly.