There is, for me, a striking stanza in the hymn, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts:
“Time, like an ever-rolling stream, soon bears us all away;
We fly forgotten, as a dream fades at the opening day.”
During this pandemic of Covid-19 I have been slammed to the core by the loss of time. You might wonder at this. Yes, we have been and are sequestered in our homes, forcing our daily rhythms to be molded into – something different. One would think this has afforded us to have all the time in the world to finish that project we left half done years ago, embrace all the books unread, learn a new skill, stream Chautauqua lectures, clean and sort the basement, tend the garden more intentionally, etc., etc.
In my world, some of the above has occurred, and some has not.
My agitation and frustration in this season of waiting is the loss of time. Time with my grand boys in Sweden, time traveling with my husband to see and experience items on our bucket list, physical time with friends and relatives near and afar. But mostly time with my son and family in Sweden – those grand boys!
Time in my world and decade is precious. Days, weeks and months mean a lot! 6 months, a year, maybe two before I can really safely travel by air/train means a loss of precious time when life is on the downhill side age wise!! That same time for my grandsons, though shown in growth in height and physical presence, is but a blip in their lives.
I sigh and I shed tears. Video chatting just doesn’t cut it! The hugs are not present. The body language and playful times are not possible. The quiet togetherness of reading a book or making a Lego are waiting, hoping for an unforeseeable future.
I’m angry at Time, I yearn for Patience.
And when the going gets tough, I find refuge in the creativity of others:
“All Lovingkindness is our God” Welling Hall 2020
“All loving kindness is our God, Compassion never ceasing.
To Love we pray when life is hard, Both hurt and fear releasing.
We also pray when life is good. Content with heartfelt knowing,
That loved is fueled by gratitude; We grow as thanks are flowing.
Our pain and grief have twice the sting When loneliness defeats us.
But when we share in everything Community completes us.
All Loving kindness is our God, Compassion never ending.
For God is Love and Love is God, In grief and joy befriending.”
Thank you, Welling Hall, for writing this hymn! Its timeliness and purpose are welcome! It gives me comfort and hope in this season of waiting.
Note: Welling Hall has been a Chautauquan all her life. She is currently on the Chautauqua United Church of Christ Board of Directors and is webmaster of the CUCCS website. She recently retired from Earlham College as Associate Academic Dean and Plowshares Professor of Peace Studies.