DayBreaks for 9/06/17: Traveling the Circle
From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:
From “The Scrivener”, a blog by Doug Dalrymple:
“I’m reminded of a passage in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Sydney Carton, habitually unhappy, is pondering a great act, a beautiful act, which if carried out will certainly cost him everything. Setting aside his customary bitter tone, Sydney suddenly asks the elderly Jarvis Lorry, ‘Does your childhood seem far off? Do the days when you sat at your mother’s knee seem days of very long ago?’ Venerable and wizened, and having spent his days in simple, loving dedication to others, the octogenarian Lorry replies:
‘Twenty years back, yes; at this time in my life, no. For, as I draw closer and closer to the end, I travel in the circle, nearer and nearer to the beginning. It seems to be one of the kind smoothings and preparings of the way. My heart is touched now by many remembrances that had long fallen asleep, of my pretty young mother (and I so old!), and by many associations of the days when what we call the World was not so real with me, and my faults were not confirmed in me.’
“I recently asked my father a similar question: Whether or not, as he’s grown older, his memories of childhood seem to fade or grow more vivid? He replied, ‘a little of both.’ By Jarvis Lorry’s measure this suggests my father has yet to complete his circuit and that my children and I will enjoy the blessing of his company here below for years to come. I do pray, however, that aging becomes for me (and for each of us) less a process of alienation from the child I once was, and more a process of recovery. God willing that I should grow old and gray, I hope some day to gaze into the mirror and through the fog of outward appearances to apprehend the faint outlines of that seven-year-old boy, fully inhabiting the old man’s frame, secretly supplying him with joy and wonder and curiosity in the world, in his Maker, and especially in those given to him to love.”
I’ve mused on this kind of topic before, but my son has a wonderful way with words that express things far better than I can. I like the idea of traveling in the circle – and that as we get nearer and nearer to the end, we are actually getting nearer and nearer to the beginning. And is it not so? We came from God, and we shall return to Him. While that is a comfort to those who have come to know Him and His Son, it is also a very sobering reminder. We tend to think that as we age we are further and further removed from our origin. But such is not the case. It is precisely at the midway point in our lives (whatever that may be for a given individual) that we are the farthest from the origin. As we get older, the period of our alienation here upon earth grows shorter and short and the time of our arrival on eternity’s doorstep grows ever shorter and nearer. And in eternity dwells the One who is our Origin, our Creator, our God and our Father.
When my younger son (Tim, not Doug) was a competitive gymnast, at the end of a day he’d be somewhat exhausted – sometimes very exhausted. My advice to him was always the same (and I’m sure he got tired of hearing it): “Finish well.” What kind of horrible tragedy will it be for us to get so close to the finish line, to completing the circle and returning to our Maker, if we lose our heart for Him and His Word toward the end? If we suddenly stop and turn away from the truth He taught us throughout the first part of our journey around the circle? I’ve been through my mid-life crisis, and I’m here to tell you that it was no fun. I came close to chucking it all out the window a number of years ago. But I think one thing, more than any other, made me hold on: my life would have been a waste and my testimony a sham if I turned away.
I want to finish well. I want to complete the circle in such a way that when I put my foot on God’s doorstep, He’ll open the door and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord!” I pray you will finish well, too.
PRAYER: Oh, Lord. Help us not to grow weary or to lose sight of the end. May we be ever more mindful each and every passing moment that we are drawing close to the completion of this life’s journey and that when we pass from this world, we will stand before You. May we hear Your voice filled with pleasure when we awake from our sleep! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>