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Same Time, Another Year

December 31, 2006

One of the first Latin proverbs I learned in Miss Shade’s ninth-grade Latin class was tempus fugit, time flies. For some reason I was just remembering this while at the same time transposing it in my mind: fugitive of time. Neither really has any logical meaning. Time is really the measurable advancement of material forces, and we mark it according to our perception. If it flies, this implies some velocity compared to another, but time itself is a steady constant–isn’t it? The earth, the sun, the wind–things that move–give us our sense of time with objective, measurable phenomena. We’re the ones flying, or fleeing: the fugitives of time. Time is just there, measuring the years, days, hours of my flight. At death, time will cease for me. Some measure of time will probably exist in the eternal state, but it will differ from what exists now. For now, I can’t actually run out of time. But I can and do run out of patience. Impatience is measuring time to an extent that displaces all other purpose at hand.

I feel rather exceptionally crummy today. I have a bad sore throat and headache. When we came home from church, I called Urgent Care, the local excuse for a halfway emergency room, and asked if they were seeing a lot of sore throats. The receptionist said they were, in fact, seeing several strep cases, so we thought it a good idea to go in and have it checked. But the wait, which looked like it would last 40 minutes to an hour, was more tiring than my discomfort. One cute little kid was prancing and yelling while his parents, somewhere between junior high and high school age, encouraged him. Another cute little kid slept across his mother’s lap, a barf pan close at hand. I decided I’d rather be home drinking green-ginger tea. I’ve survived untreated strep and several cases of untreatable mono; this is just another Thing.

This is by no means the most demanding health crisis of the day at our house. The sound tipped me off to the much greater one, the blood-curdling sound of the Cat drinking water: a little too much, a little too long. And he was saturating his litter box every couple of days. Once again, he has become a finicky eater. Once again, I am drawing blood, monitoring his glucose levels, administering insulin injections. The Cat has come out of healthy retirement and resumed his career as a diabetic.

But I had mentioned impatience and being a fugitive of time. Today’s sermon prodded us to make our calling and election sure, and Pastor Lyon exposited Ezekiel 18:30-32. I gave up trying to locate a single mark of grace anywhere in evidence in myself. Two of the eight things Pastor Lyon listed that a natural man can do is plead with God and wait. I hope I have more patience with God than with the Urgent Care health provider I didn’t wait to see. I don’t fear the Urgent Care provider; I do fear the One who has the power to cast me into hell.

My God has a smiling face behind every frowning providence; what works to try me works to tend me. There is life for me in pain, and there is life for me in my Cat’s flawed endocrine system. We rejoice in trial and in triumph, in want and in bounty. And when I really want to be pathetic, I can even be humored by some of Solomon’s somewhat unsympathetic wisdom. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

2 comments:

mcbrooke said…
Mrs. B.,
I really hope you (and the cat) recover soon. Thank you for all of your thoughtful posts. And a big thank you for your support of McMusic. We love having you and Grapes as fans.
happy new year
Love,
McBrooke
4:34 PM  
heidi said…
‘Fugitive of time’ is an astonishing phrase. My mind was impaled on it in the first two sentences (and that first paragraph is going into my quotes folder, too). Patience as a way to measure time is also a rather ‘pulling up’ thought.Sat. listening to the Sound and Spirit program there was a poem that struck me, which started off with time pursuing — running swiftly, and closed with the lovers in this case determining to run even more swiftly and make time chase them. That rather impaled me too. I think that for all that time is a fixed measurement we do experience it and all things in movement. To move faster — to rush towards the Last Lover, to make it chase me — well my mind is impaled again and I can’t finish that thought. Perhaps God will give me grace and strength to live it.

I do pray for you, your poor throat, and your poor cat. Strep usually does signal a new round of mono, if it’s in your system…. Even pain is too precious to waste (and you, having been given a rather abundant share of it, waste much less of it than almost anyone else I know).

8:54 AM  
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