22.3.12

The Journey Blesses Time

I've been writing songs for over half of my life.  One result of that is that I don't really remember all the songs I've written.  Maybe I won't hear them for years at a time.  One upside of this is that, since I often write about some lesson that I'm learning, this rediscovery gives me a chance to relearn it.

And this is surprisingly useful.  Being able to describe or express a concept is notably different from internalizing it, and I am living proof.  It's like reading an old journal entry.  Sometimes I can't believe that I could express something so many years ago, and yet feel like I've never really learned it at all.  It may even be true that writing a song about a given truth is my way of closing the issue prematurely, of me pretending that I've got that issue under wraps.

I recognized that several years ago.  I even wrote a song in 2003 about how, when I write a song, I tend to stop learning the lesson or appreciating the wonder of whatever the subject is.  It ended with the idea (which I thought clever) that if I write a song about this issue, then maybe I'll bring the premature closure to a premature closure.  People liked the song, but as you might have guessed, the whole "idea pun" part of it was lost on half the people, and considered confusing to the point of unappreciation by the other half.

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."  I look forward to next year, when I will be able to pronounce that phrase accurately in French.  For now, I rely on the English translation:  "The more things change, the more they stay the same."  I was driving across the state of Michigan tonight thinking about the challenges of this year.  Among them is being between two places.  There is a joy in getting up most days and putting your hands to a defined, practical task in front of you.  Even if it is slow work, even if you're spinning your wheels, at least you hand is to the plow.  This year is like a super-long preparation for a very complicated journey.  And part of me would like to get on to the next thing.

And lo and behold, I get to rediscover a song of mine from 2009.  "Time will bless the journey that's in store, as the journey blesses time."  The images of the song are all about the continuity of a journey.  It's about walking or sailing, where you cover every inch.  This is in contrast to a plane or elevator ride, where the door closes, some time passes, and when it opens, it's like some magic just eliminated all the points between here and there.  It's a reminder that so many things require time to make them what they are.  Even the particular turn of a musical phrase is all about the passage of time.  You can't rush it, because it's the time itself which is blessing the music, just as the music has blessed the time you've spent listening.

So, the waiting.  The anticipation.  The preparation.  Even the tension.  Something is forged in the fires of time.  Does it require faith to trust that God is working something good out of this time, and that it's not just passing as a matter of fruitless necessity?  Yes, of course.  And it always will.

But God holds time.  And what we've seen of him declares him to be trustworthy.  What we have learned of him may be small and limited, but I suspect he is working some good thing, maybe something below the surface, some undercurrent that is vital even if quiet and underrated.  I don't know this for sure, neither can I prove it.  But it fits with what God has revealed of his character, and so, by his grace, let us trust him with our hours, our days, and our years.

Time Blesses The Journey


Tolkien ambles home along a garden lane
Sold his car and then discovered once again
All the cobbles in the street
And more than that, the movements of his feet

It's been planes and elevators for too long
Until I was getting off, the windows all were drawn
So, though I've arrived, there's still
Something that I missed along the way

I've been away from this ocean town
Reminds me of all that stretches past the shore
But these points on a line remind
That time will bless the journey that's in store
As the journey blesses time

Think I can see Vespucci on the open waves
Nothing on his horizon now for days
He cuts through every blade of tide
And sails under every inch of sky

I've been afraid of these mountain views
All of the heights that still are left to climb
But these points on a line remind
That time will bless the journey that's in store
As the journey blesses time

So the hour sits behind the tutor's desk
Dons the Oxford robe and teaches me the rest
That much will come and go
That much will collide and then fade away

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