"Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong; and most of them are fruitless toil”. (Psalm 90)
How etched in my memory are all the verses of Psalm 90 as it was used in the liturgy of many funerals I was apart of. The psalmist is not being negative, only deeply reflective of how quick this life passes compared to eternity. The words come home to me now that I am beginning my 80th year.
I remember my mother in her nineties, with a smile on her face saying, “Where did the time go!" She could smile. Born in 1889 she lived in a generation that wasted little time on frivolities, as food came from the soil, clothes often from flour sacks, recipes for cooking from scratch; and for years no electricity nor telephone. She lived the gospel well with my father, providing for her nine children.
I also ask myself, “Where did the time go?” Happy with whatever good I accomplished, but feeling ill about time I have wasted also.
Years ago as an interim chaplain in a Veteran’s Domiciliary, a father of 13 children who worked there would get me to come home with him on my days off and help him work around his place. I remember how he “made” me sit down everyday to do spiritual reading with him. Roy was one of many I remember who walked with me and made my life a more “fruitful toil."
It is easy to look back at the lost time and the fruitless toil, especially during times of fatigue and pain. But I think the Psalmist also wants us to remember the faithful and joyous times that are interspersed throughout our lives.
Some blessings for my friends at Mission of The Atonement -
May you see the angels witness,
and be challenged and encouraged in love and faith.
May you take time with God through reflective reading, mediation and to listen to the hungers of each other.
May you learn to count your days, that you may gain a wise heart.