Grey Hair and Time

It was ten years ago. I had just read a note from a young writer named Benjamin. Benjamin wasn’t published yet, but I’d heard him read from his manuscript and it was obvious that he’s good. He had a story and a distinct voice, and the heart to get both on paper and out into the world. Today, that has happened.

His note that day was about a verse of scripture that spoke to him that year at Write! Canada, a verse that he decided wasn’t all that encouraging. It was the one that talks about us having “threescore years and ten”, and the later years of those full of trouble. Mind you, I think that information was directed specifically to the wilderness travellers who had decided they wouldn’t enter the promised land, so I don’t get too bent out of shape by it at my tender age.

But point taken: We aren’t here forever.

But then Benjamin noted something that the psalmist goes on to say, “establish the work of our hands for us.” It is repeated in the psalm, making it sound as if the writer desperate for it. As the psalmist sees time going by too quickly, and there isn’t much of it, he feels an urgency to accomplish the work.

Now, that makes perfect sense to me.

The truth is, as I see more wrinkles show up and the formerly grey hair turning white (prematurely, of course), I’m more in a hurry to get words out there. Maybe all of us, when we realize the passing of time, whether we’re young like Benjamin or have a few more years behind us than he, become more and more anxious to accomplish something, to leave something here for our children and grandchildren.

And that makes sense too. We were made in the image of a Creator and a Giver.

I remember a few years ago when my mortality took on more pronounced reality. I looked, then, at what I was leaving behind and wondered why I hadn’t even tried to do what had been in my heart to do: to write the book that is now titled Smooth Stones and Promises. Thankfully, I recognized the little nudges I was getting in that direction, and took action. I’ve written much more in the several years since then, and still feel nudges, but for blogging, not for books.

As for Benjamin, I was impressed and happy to see that this young man learned, early, that our strength, and the ability to leave something good behind, is found in the Source from which we came.

To be sure, the Source from Whom springs the desire and Who empowers it is well.

The work is not ours alone.

Surely, when all is quiet, our hearts know it’s true.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, the work of our hands establish it,” (Psalm 90:17)