Friday, May 25, 2007

A Sequoia in My Wrist

A Sequoia in My Wrist
John W. Frye

Looking back the years disappear in the distance
For the road behind is quite long and winding.
While up ahead the road feels shorter
And straighter than it is, I suppose,
And a big sign reads "No Exit."

Being in a big hurry for no reason seems silly now
And the passing trees and fields, cities and streets,
Playgrounds and cemeteries appear richer, more real
Than I am used to.

My wife's green eyes seem deeper now,
And more mysterious to me; and her touch is a gift,
And her friendly voice at night is a welcomed sound
To my ears that have heard stories of so much pain.

It's down hill I'm told on this side of life,
Yet I choose to find a few more mountains to climb,
Some strange wilderness to explore,
Some undiscovered clearing deep in the woods
Where we can sit and remember, talk, laugh and cry.
And drink cold water.

The hectic rush of generations goes on, of course,
And our minds are trained for habits of hurry.
Yet, thank God, our faithful bodies now say "No" to speed.
We enjoy the simplicity of just sitting together in quiet.

Free things seem so intensely valuable--
Like the hummingbirds warring for the feeder,
Like sounds of water trickling over rocks,
Like mourning doves reminding us that
So many in the world are very, very lonely.

Jesus didn't live to be my age
And I'm deeply sorry for that.
He lived urgently, freely, on the run.
If he had one, I think he would have
Looked at his Seiko too frequently.

I take my watch off now as a discipline.
Why wear around an invention on your wrist
To remind you that you are dying?
That the road ahead is shorter?

I'd like to plant a sequoia in my wrist
And watch it grow over the years to come,
But, unfortunately, I'm not made for it.

The road ahead now does not matter as much.
What matters is my best friend's voice.



At 5/26/2007 5:34 AM, Blogger Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

Hi John
this is beautiful. And resonates deeply with me. (I have just written something on dying). What a pity that we need to get older before we discover value in a more reflective way of living.
Peace brother.

At 5/26/2007 7:08 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Pete--rock in the grass,
I appreciate the kind words. I am trying to pay close attention to this season of life. It is both beautiful and bewildering. My quest is to find the vibrant God in these years.

At 5/26/2007 8:10 AM, Blogger Terry Rayburn said...

Profoundly beautiful, John. At 57, how could I not identify?

"He lived urgently, freely, on the run.
If he had one, I think he would have
Looked at his Seiko too frequently."

This perked my ears up, since I've often quoted another view from Howard Hendricks I heard many years ago:

"Jesus was never in a hurry and He always did the Father's will. I find I'm too often in a hurry and not always sure I'm doing the Father's will."

Thinking more about it (a sign of good poetry), I can see that the Father's will for Jesus' life involved urgency that called for some running, balanced with times of quiet prayer and communing solitude. Sort of a spiritual Cheetah?

At 5/26/2007 9:29 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Yeah, I wondered about Jesus looking at his watch, but I had in mind the times people tried to catch him and he slipped away for his "time had not yet come." He was "on the run," yet not hurried.

At 5/26/2007 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think there are watches that will operate long enough to keep time throughout our forever life in Christ, but the sequoia, after it is released from its bondage to decay (Romans 8:21) will be a bold and beautiful testimony to life-abundant.

Beautiful prose, John! Thank you for sharing this.

At 5/26/2007 11:41 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

It's strange contemplating the 33 year old Jesus and knowing him to also be the eternal second Person of the Trinity. Do you think God is or has ever been "outside" time? Is that a Platonic idea?

At 5/27/2007 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being "inside" or "outside" time is a Platonic idea, as opposed to an Aristotelian concept which would speak of time as something that is not independent of the events that occur in it.

Personally, I do not see a conflict with God and time as some do. I am not one to say that God is "outside of time" or that He must be "outside of time" for some reason. I don't accept that time is a 'thing' one can be 'in' or 'out' of.

At 5/28/2007 7:39 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Why is do some see a conflict in the issue of God and time?

Is eternity *unending time* or is time simply a vacuous term in relation to eternity?

At 5/28/2007 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It goes back to what kind of ontological status is (or is not) given to "time." If time is a "thing" then (unless you are going to equate God with Time, and some have done that) it must be a created thing, (there is God, who is an uncreated being and then there is everything else, that which is created by Him-- John 1:3 )and as a created thing, then it would have to have a beginning, but not necessarily an end. So if time is a "thing" then I suppose one could speak of eternity as unending time...but then, we have the problem of when time "began" and when God "created" it... which opens up a host of problems even discussing it because all of these questions are "when" questions. How does one locate a "beginning" if the location is dependent on the existence of the thing itself?

Anyway, the conflict comes when time is thought to be a created thing and therefore a limiting thing, when it comes to God being "in" time. When working out one's theology of the incarnation, one's philosophy of time would certainly come into play.

I believe "unending time" is a way of talking about creation's participation in eternity, not a synonym for eternity.

At 5/28/2007 1:13 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Since thinking requires sequence (time), does God think?

At 5/28/2007 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But... Augustine said that God thought "all at once" -- everything from eternity past, present and future-- in a single "word" (logos). Here's a place where Augustine's desire to reconcile Greek philosophy and Theology gets all tangled, I think.

At 5/29/2007 4:39 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Augustine's idea then makes God, to use Dallas Willard's phrase, "the Cosmic Unblinking Stare." Isn't the flaw in the classical view of immutability that it is possible to change without jeopardizing "perfection"? God can think without altering in any way God's essence. True?

At 5/29/2007 10:25 AM, Blogger Jim Martin said...

A wonderful, meaningful piece that points to the value and beauty of age.

Thanks John.

At 5/29/2007 1:37 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

I appreciate your affirming words. Thanks for stoping by and commenting.

At 5/30/2007 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe its true that God can think without altering in any way God's essence. Others may disagree.

At 5/31/2007 3:35 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks for helping me with some of these things. Are there other major Platonic incursions that have distorted a truly biblical theology?

At 5/31/2007 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm certainly no expert on Plato! But from what I had to read in my History of Philosophy class, it seems Plato is the father of Idealism. The tendency toward coming up with abstractions that are created in the brain of the "thinker" and therefore supposedly have some kind of ontic status in the heavenlies (or wherever, "out there") has its roots in Greek philosophy.

At 6/01/2007 8:36 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

It's all relative! You're more of an expert on Plato than me!! :)

At 6/03/2007 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw John, I just posted my paper on pastoral ministry -- in which you are referenced a few times.

At 6/06/2007 7:21 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks, Susan.

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