Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boyhood, Childhood and Our Hope

A voice says, “Cry out!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
    their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
    surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40

On Saturday we drove daughter-in-law Rebekah and grandson Nicholas to Toronto where we rendezvoused with son Isaac for their return to London. I was delighted to spend time with their family, including six successive days with Nicholas. He is eighteen months old and was a different person than the year-old I saw at Christmas. He walks, has started talking in both official languages, loves music and books, has likes and dislikes. It was a pleasure to get him out in a canoe twice and watch him trailing his hand in the water with great fascination. I wish I could see him more often, but it was also fun to see so much development and change in a matter of months.

We went downtown from our meeting place and watched a movie at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the drama called Boyhood. We watch as an American boy named Mason becomes a young man. What makes this film remarkable is that it is filmed over the course of twelve years with the same cast or primary characters throughout, a considerable risk given all that would have changed in the lives of everyone involved. They came together every year to film the next sequence of the story. As a result we watch Mason and his sister grow from young children to young adults. The film is nearly three hours in length but remains fascinating because of the direction, the acting, and the transformation unfolding before us.

We found that we were both emotional at the conclusion, and knew that in part it was because of our time with Nicholas. When I was in London to pick them up Nicholas would point at his father and say "Papa" and then at me, quizzically offering "Papa" as though he was trying to figure out the generations.

While he was with us he played at a wooden table we have hauled around with through the years. He sat in a chair marked with a red "I" for Isaac, his father. He loved the bucket of cars and trucks including a selection of the metal Matchbox toys from my childhood. As life unfolds we aren't always aware of the passage of time in our busyness, and then we have the reminders of how fleeting and rewarding our existence is.

I am grateful that my faith helps me put life in perspective. Even though the brevity of our time here can be unsettling and even scary, God is our companion on the journey in all its changing seasons. I want to trust that in Christ these years have meaning and be the source of hope.


Time, like an ever rolling stream,
bears all who breathe away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

 O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come;
be thou our guide while life shall last,
and our eternal home.

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