How can 'now' be eternal?
Two recent French films inspired me: “Monsieur Lazhar” and “The Intouchables.” They show the power of love and friendship to overcome the pain, not only of past events, but of the presence of continuing memories. The stories are each full of redemptive qualities of brotherhood, affection, and care for one another. These films, though only touching the human condition, set me to thinking about the eternality of now.
What does the eternality of now mean? To me it means that we are right now living in the graciousness of God’s tender care, His love poured over us, His shepherding that keeps us in His presence. This statement from the Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy assures us that we are living in the now: “The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 246). So we don’t need to long for the missed opportunity, shuffle the deck of “if only I had done that,” or await the certainty of some day over that rainbow. We can bask instead in the brilliance of that “eternal noon.”
Over the past few months I’ve been tempted to shuffle those cards of “if only ...,” and in quiet, solitary moments I’ve found myself longing for happier times that have gone by, or even writing scenarios for the future. Family demands, a son in the war zone overseas, multiple college tuitions ahead, and the absence of family members dear to me have caused me to think deeply about the “now” of my existence. I’ve found peace and calm in a song called “Hymn of Life,” by Phyllis Gilbert and Andrew Brewis, on an inspirational CD titled “Gracenotes,” which says:
The now, the past, the future
Eternally are one,
In Mind’s pure presence blending.
Man truly is God’s son....
What comfort this verse has given me! I‘ve found the anxiety, worry, and longing melting from me like an ice cube on a hot day. Knowing that I, and all my family members, are truly God’s children has taken me into the eternal now.
Sure enough, I have lots to be grateful for as I stay in this noontime of God’s care: Our son in Afghanistan has been able to Skype us and assure us of his safety and activity; our college-aged son has found nonstop summer employment with the promise of all his tuition needs met; our teen daughter has delighted in several trips, including one overseas with fares and fees completely covered; and family reunions with siblings have resulted in closer bonds and mutual support of one another.
My family’s present now in that noontime light is overflowing with blessings, and we are grateful.
No more longing for the past. No more waiting for that future goodness. It’s now! This promise from the Old Testament is with each one of us every day: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee...” (Numbers 6:24).
And the affection and support of others around us, as brought out in those recent films, can serve to brighten the noontime light in which we are standing.
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