The Time Between the Times

Dear Friends,

I came across a phrase lately that I like and have latched onto. The phrase is, "The time between the times." What it means, I guess, is that time between a former way of doing things and a coming way of doing things. An example of this every year is this period of time we're in right now between Christmas and New Year's. The old year is almost over and done with and the new year is almost upon us. But there is this little bit of time in between where we could, if we choose, try to reflect on the past and learn from it and evaluate where we are and what we want to do in the time that is coming. The year is just about past and the new one isn't quite here, and there is this time, this opportunity, to learn and grow and make some decisions about the future -- the time between the times.

Another example of this I heard about is this young woman who was applying to college. She was desperate to know if she got into her first choice, but had a little while yet to wait until she heard. And she was talking to her father, and he wisely told her that this period of uncertainty was a unique opportunity for growth in her life. If she could live with a confidence and joy even when she didn't know if she would get what she hoped for, a kind of strength would be formed in her that she wouldn't have if she found out right away, or if it came too easily. It was a time between the times.

There might be other times in our lives when we are in a time between the times, maybe when we are in between jobs, or at just about retirement age and deciding what the next chapter of our life will be. It might be when we have experienced an obstacle of some kind or a failure or defeat or loss or uncertainty. Our time between the times is that period of reflection and decision about how we will react, what we will do, what we will make of our lives now that this setback has been encountered.

I think we are living in a time between the times right now, in a way that is more than just about the calendar. The year 2020 has been so different, so difficult, for many so devastating. What have we learned? How have we changed and grown? What are we going to carry with us from our experience? The promised land of a vaccine and getting to a place that is nearer to what we think of as normal is just ahead, we think. Will we be better people because of what we've experienced, kinder, more helpful, more hopeful? Will there be a strength in us because of what we've been through that wouldn't be there if we hadn't gone through it?

Only time will tell, of course. But now, in this time between the times, we have the opportunity, if we seize it, to think about how we might bring the best of what this past year has meant into the new year.

Grace and Hope to you,
Pastor Duane