“The moon marks off the seasons and the sun knows when to go down.” Psalm 104:19
I forget the world is turning until I go to the beach, to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, a place where time performs its most glorious magic tricks. During stunning sunsets, the sun dips down as the earth turns her head away. The moon seems brighter when it’s caught in the silver waves. During the day, it is too sandy for watches, too bright for cell phones, so we watch the sun carve its familiar, silent trek across the sky to tell time. Meanwhile, the things on this spinning planet shift. Not the little things, like one might expect. No, the giant, silvery, gleaming ocean tips back and forth. Water splashes over the edges, and we, concerned our sand castle might collapse, call it the tide. The world is moving. And as the world moves, time passes.
“There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.” Psalm 104:26
As the sun journeys through the sky, it leaves a mark. Pink stains my skin, though I never felt it burn. Now, every time I sit and stand, I’m reminded that I’ve enjoyed the passing of time. In the name of healing, pink will peel and fade. And in the sun’s daily walking, time passes just as silently, just as startlingly. I wondered how long the sand I stood on had been there. It’s been sculpted into sand castles, smoothed under towels, housed crabs, and it has danced with the waves. Sand understands time.
Our week at the beach passed quickly, and it was time to go home. We packed the car and swept the steps. Goodbyes to friends collided with hellos to family. I’d missed a few of my sisters’ events, so I stood by the computer (sunburnt legs preventing me from sitting) to watch the videos. And, though no longer at the beach, I was reminded that the world is spinning.
“You bring darkness, it becomes night.” Psalm 104:20a
Last July, the healthy, vibrant choral director of my high school, Dr. Amy Foster, was told she had a year to live. On January 8, the battle with breast cancer ended. Between July and January, the passing of the sun became a bit more precious for a group of high school students as they set aside busy schedules and were dealt a lesson on time. I did not really know Dr. Foster, but I am moved by the marks that she left. With open arms, she taught hundreds to sing. She taught about the song of life. Even now, she continues to teach. As if it came straight from a movie, I watched students honor both Dr. Foster and the brave new choral director. The newly graduated teacher’s first job was huge. She filled the large shoes, comforted grieving students, and reminded a school how to sing. And sing they did—a hymn for both teachers and for time. The group’s celebration banquet is tonight. There will be tears of remembrance, but there will also be laughter. The world is spinning.
People graduate. Birthdays are celebrated. Life changes. The world is turning. Time is passing. I hope that I remember, even when I’m away from the ocean, that there is ancient sand and mysterious creatures all around me. I hope I remember in life’s joys that moments are fleeting and “now” is something to be celebrated. I hope I spin along.
“I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.” Psalm 104:34