There are No Do-Overs

I came across these words from a song by Kate Wolf last week:

These Times We’re Living In

“There are no roads that do not bend

And the days like flowers bloom and fade

And they do not come again

We’ve only got these times we’re living in . . .”

These four simple lines of poetry struck me deeply. And have lingered in my brain for days. I keep coming back to them again and again.

I did not know who Kate Wolf was. I assumed she was a modern poet I had missed by majoring in theology and ancient Greek in undergrad rather than English (one of the great sorrows of my life . . .) Oh well – life doesn’t come with “do-overs” – does it? If it did – I would so totally major in English in college and minor in theology and Greek. I got plenty of theological stuff in seminary – PLENTY!

Anyway – Kate Wolf was a folksinger and song writer. She is described as a musician with a poet’s heart.   She died far too young of leukemia.   She knew much about appreciating the blessing of the time we do have.

Something many of us – don’t . . .

“We’ve only got these times we’re living in . . .”

Wolf’s words express a wisdom about time and this life so many of us fail to see. Those of us who believe we have all of the time in the world are often so very – very careless and cavalier with time and with our lives. We are blind to the powerful blessings of the present moment and time.

We act like time is an infinite resource.

Honestly – there is much in this life (in my own life) that I wish were different. I could go on for days/weeks/months about what I would like to change. My regrets. What I don’t like. What annoys – disturbs – troubles and bothers me. I am a very human – human.

I do not like living through a pandemic. I do not like the divisions in our society. I do not like the apathy and anger and exhaustion I see (and experience). I do not like living with autoimmune diseases and all of the strange – annoying symptoms that come with them. I do not like war. I do not like pain and sorrow and suffering and sin. I do not like celery or sweet potatoes either (just saying).

But . . . but this is the life and world and these are the times I am living in. This is my life. These are my experiences.   This is it . . . This is what I get . . .

This is my life. My time on this earth is finite.

These days with Jason – Jack – and Will – they are finite too.   And it just so happens that Will’s 8th year of life – Jack’s 18th and my/Jason’s 46th – well they are being lived in the midst of a global pandemic.

“We’ve only got these times we’re living in . . .”

I can complain about my life and be miserable and angry and filled with bitterness and resentment that my life isn’t what I wanted/hoped/expected it to be. Who hopes for a pandemic?   Who hopes for disappointment? Who longs to live in a world filled with so much brokenness and pain?

No one longs for these things. But these are the times we are living in. It is what it is . . .

I can choose a different mindset. A different way of being in the world. I can choose to appreciate what I have. I can seek the good. I can look for beauty. I can work really hard to rise above the ugliness. I can choose not to focus like a laser on the bad and the awful and the disappointing and instead focus like a laser on the good. I can choose contentment with the blessings I have – because my life is filled with a multitude of blessings.

I know it can feel hard to find much that feels good or lovely about this time in our lives. Living through a global pandemic is hard and stressful and exhausting. There have been so many disappointments. I will be the first to say that I think it has caused real rifts in our society. Our lives have changed – perhaps forever. . .

But – when we open our eyes and hearts and really look – there is much to appreciate. Much to give thanks for. Much to stand in awe of. There are blessings. There is beauty. There is good.

It isn’t all rubbish . . . It isn’t all wretched and misery . . . It isn’t all ugliness and disappointment and disaster.

“We’ve only got these times we’re living in . . .”

This is the one life we have to live. These times will not come again. There aren’t any do-overs.

This week after I spent time in lament – I wanted to spend time giving thanks too. Not fake thanks. Not thanks I wasn’t feeling.   I didn’t force it. I just let it come. I found that lament and thanksgiving could co-exist in my heart.   I am thankful (just not thankful for everything . . .)

Lately I have stood in awe of health care professionals. Their willingness to help and care for and make huge sacrifices for people with Covid-19 without judgment or condemnation moves me deeply. I truly am awed by these people.

I give thanks for the people of Saint Stephen who have stepped up during the pandemic and helped me over and over again. Saint Stephen exists because of the faithful volunteers who serve our Lord. These folks have blessed our Christian community and me in profound ways these past months. Without them Saint Stephen could not/would not exist.   Some stepped way up.

I give thanks for the crossing guard at Will’s school. She literally takes her life into her own hands every single day protecting young children from reckless – selfish drivers who speed through the school zone in front of Will’s school.

I give thanks for my family. And it is an amazing blessing to be surrounded by people who are good and kind and loving. I did not grow up in a family like this.

I give thanks for sunshine. I love – love – love sunlight.

I give thanks for nature. It is mighty and can be fierce and terrifying – but it is also incredibly – wildly – gloriously beautiful.

I could go on and on and on. And perhaps I should. It is far better for my heart and my soul to focus on the good than to focus on the yuck and pain and difficult. But I will spare you my list . . .

What is good in your life? Where have you been blessed? What can you give thanks for? Who can you give thanks for?

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