Leap day

Instead of the usual 365 days, this year we have the gift of 366 days.  How am I going to be a good steward of this extra 24 hours?

Clock

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man.  College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way.  In fact, Jack had moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.  There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son.  He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him the news: “Mr. Belser died last night.  The funeral is Wednesday.”  Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom.  Yes, I heard you,” came Jack’s reply.  “It’s been so long since I thought of him.  I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” he admitted.

“Well, he didn’t forget you.  Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing.  He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it.”

“I loved that old house he lived in.”  Jack could picture it clearly.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” Mom said.

“Yeah, he’s the one who taught me carpentry.  I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him.  He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important…  Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack decided.

As busy as he was, he kept his word.  Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.  Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful.  He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment.  It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.  The house was exactly as he remembered.  Every step held memories.  Every picture, every piece of furniture…  Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone.”

“What box?”

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk,” explained Jack, his eyes searching the room.  “I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside.  All he’d ever tell me was ‘It’s the thing I value most.’”

But it was gone.  Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box.  He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said.

Two weeks passed.  Jack had returned home and dove back into his work.  Arriving at his house from work one day, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox indicating a parcel was waiting for him at the post office.  First thing the next morning, Jack retrieved the package.  The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago.  The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention: “From Mr. Harold Belser.”  Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package.  There inside was the gold box and an envelope.  Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents
to Jack Bennett.  It’s the thing I valued most in my life.

A small key was taped to the letter.  His heart racing, tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box.  There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.  Inside he found these words engraved:

Jack, thank you for your time! Harold Belser.

“The thing he valued most was… my time,” Jack breathed.

He held the watch for a few minutes, then called Tutima gold pocket watch, approx 1929his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.  “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my family,” he said. “And, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

(Sent to me in 2005 via an email from a friend.)

A matter of time

Star Trek Time Travel Fan CollectiveA few weeks ago I bought the Star Trek: Time Travel Fan Collective.  It’s a collection of Star Trek shows from the different series that features tales of our Starfleet heroes going forwards and/or backwards through time.

The concept of time travel has always intrigued me.  I have awoken on more than one occasion from dreaming of going back to my high school or university days with knowledge of 2011…  Would I change anything?  Or would I make sure to leave everything the way it was?  I wonder, if you were given a time machine, would you visit the future or relive November 5, 1955?

Sometimes I think that the Word and Sacraments make time travel possible.  The Bible tells me what God has done in the past, who I am in the present, and the hope God’s people have for the future.  I exist in a continuum, blessed by those who have gone before and confident of God’s help and strength in the future.  Similar with the sacraments: Baptism gives us a picture of having died and been raised with Christ in the past, of Jesus washing us clean and renewing us for service in the present, and of us crossing the river into glory in the new heaven and new earth.  And the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in the past, a means by which the Holy Spirit nourishes us in the present, and a foretaste of the wedding banquet of the Lamb in the future.

Last but not least, the Word and Sacraments remind me of how God holds the past (which I cannot change) and the future (which I cannot predict) in His hands, freeing me and equipping me to serve Him with all I’ve got here and now.

PS: If you know why I chose November 5, 1955, let me know… We can be geeks together!

100

Milepost Apparently my last post was my 100th.  I started blogging at the beginning of January 2009, which means I blog on average just over once a week.  Once a week was my original goal.  Occasionally I feel I “have to” post something for all my fans (Hi, Mom!), but the vast majority of the time it’s a meaningful way for me to share things I’ve just discovered and to express things that I’m mulling over in my mind.

I wonder…  Where was I a hundred posts ago?  Who was I a hundred posts ago?  Perhaps better questions are: Where will I be and how will I have grown and in what ways will God have worked in my life a hundred posts from now?  Do you ever ask yourself questions like that?

Time flies.  As the late Rich Mullins once sang, “To say the time is short just means the time is now.”  As we try to make every moment count, I try to make every blog post count.

The number 100 quickly reminds me of Five for Fighting’s song “100 Years,” a song that’s often caught me pondering the passage of time and numbering my days aright.


PS:
A couple tweaks to the site:  At the top of the page, interviews I’ve done are listed by clicking “RTRP.”  At the bottom of the page, you can sign up to receive notices via email or RSS feed when I post something new.