I have reached a time in life when I find myself trying to recapture some of the moments that flew by so unceremoniously and so quickly, but now seem so profound. Yesterday I shared some memories of our childhood with my sister. She started it off with a memoriam of sorts, just some random memories of her childhood, and even though I grew up in the same household, it was striking that her experiences were in some ways similar, but in others profoundly different. But the sum of our remembrances gave me a new awareness of the preciousness of this gift called life.
We shared our perspective of our parents, both of whom have passed on, and found that there was much to hold on to, even though at the time it rarely seemed to be so. And some of the memories came back with a flood of emotion. Life is, as A.W. Tozer once wrote,
…a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency, we are forced to lay our instruments down. There is simply not time enough to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of.
The following beautiful memoriam was written by Susannah Spurgeon after the death of her husband Charles. She reflects on life together and the Lord who gives and takes away. They are sweet and precious words. I suggest reading and re-reading them. Otherwise, they, like life itself, will pass too swiftly by.
I have traveled far now on life’s journey; and, having climbed one of the few remaining hills between earth and Heaven, I stand awhile on this vantage-ground, and look back across the country through which the Lord has led me.
A well-defined pathway is visible, but it appears devious and wandering; sometimes skirting a mountain-top, whence one could catch glimpses of “the land that is very far off”; and, further on, descending into a valley shadowed by clouds and darkness. At one time, it runs along amidst steep places, and overhanging rocks; at another time, it winds across an open plain, brilliant with the sunshine of goodness and mercy, and fanned by breezes which are wafted from the fields of Heaven.
There are flowers of joy and love growing all along the way, even in the dark places; and “trees which the Lord has planted,” give shade and shelter from too great heat.
I can see two pilgrims treading this highway of life together, hand in hand—heart linked to heart. True, they have had rivers to ford, and mountains to cross, and fierce enemies to fight, and many dangers to go through; but their Guide was watchful, their Deliverer unfailing, and of them it might truly be said, “In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”
Mostly, they went on their way singing; and for one of them, at least, there was no joy greater than to tell others of the grace and glory of the blessed King to whose land He was hastening. And when he thus spoke, the power of the Lord was seen, and the angels rejoiced over repenting sinners.
But, at last, they came to a place on the road where two ways met; and here, amidst the terrors of a storm such as they had never before encountered, they parted company—the one being caught up to the invisible glory—the other, battered and bruised by the awful tempest, henceforth toiling along the road—alone.
But the “goodness and mercy” which, for so many years, had followed the two travelers, did not leave the solitary one; rather did the tenderness of the Lord “lead on softly,” and choose green pastures for the tired feet, and still waters for the solace and refreshment of His trembling child. He gave, moreover, into her hands a solemn charge—to help fellow-pilgrims along the road, filling her life with blessed interest, and healing her own deep sorrow by giving her power to relieve and comfort others.