Toy Story 3 is not the movie to watch when you are contemplating mortality. It’s about a boy going to college.
I have friends facing this. Children marrying. Children finalizing their college plans. Children who are not children anymore. Does that make mothers not mothers anymore? No. Those babies we held and those toddlers we kissed, the teenage boys in their coltish joy and those long-limbed daughters singing into a hairbrush are still here in our hearts.
But there is a sense of loss. Those little people are no longer tangible.
This leads me to my latest rumination. Time is a created thing. Time is the bumper pads on the bowling alley. Time protects us from causing and reaping chaos. And time will end. “In the fullness of time”, God will roll back this ‘reality’ like a scroll, fold it up like the napkin that covered the face of Jesus in the tomb. It will no long exist. It will no longer march us inexorably forward, ever forward, toward decay.
And then? What will that look like? When I look into the face of my mother will I see the twinkling eyes in her teenage picture? The tired, weeping face of the single mother trying to feed us? The adoring face that looked at my son, her only grandson, with amazement? Or will these faces we love be all of this at once? Like a multi-faceted, changing montage?
Sometimes I look at photographs of my children, children no longer, and I feel that black hole of loss. You know the one. The one that opens up and swallows you when you drive away from their wedding; or their graduation; or their dorm room. But those tiny hands are still present in the place where time is no more. My grandmother and my lost baby and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still present.
If this is so, then how shall I live? In a black hole? No. I will look in the mirror at that surprisingly aging face and know that the nine-year-old is present. I will look at my amazing adult children and rapidly growing grandchildren and know I’ve not lost anything. Time and death? Defeated.
Thank You, Jesus.