. . . in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52
Here it is 4:30 in the morning and I am awake! I couldn’t get back to sleep for thinking about a time years ago when I was driving up Manitoba Street in Bracebridge, so I got up and began writing my memories of the past.
I had come from Toronto to visit my mom and dad. My four children were teens and tweens and were able to forage at home with Neil still at the parental helm keeping them in line and focused on school and studies. I rarely left them for long and always with a freezer and larder full and at the ready to fill their hollow legs. So it was with a grateful heart and a feeling of much enjoyed freedom from daily chores, that this busy mother was taking a few days off to visit with my parents.
I was young when I married and fresh out of business school as a private secretary, known as Administrative Assistant nowadays. At this time I had one job under my belt at MacMaster University in Hamilton for a professor by the name of Doctor Duckworth. A really kind, and fortunately for me, a very patient Dutchman. My mom and dad were still raising three of my sisters with the youngest being 18 months old, as we all gathered for my wedding that happy warm August day in 1956.
The Bible tells us over and over again throughout its pages to be ready for time goes by in the ‘Twinkling of an eye’. It warns us to be prepared for the quick passage of time by having the oil ready in our lamps. Don’t be caught unprepared John 10 tells us as “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
It’s hard enough to prepare oneself for the ‘twinkling’ changes to our own bodies as the days quickly turn into years, but seeing that same time slip by in our parents usually comes as a complete shock at the epiphany of “Oh my goodness, my parents are old!” At this point in my life the twinkling of an eye was not just happening to me, but my parents twinkling was growing dimmer in the continuum at the same time.
As I was saying when I began this walk down memory lane… I was driving up Manitoba street in Bracebridge and was almost at where Oliver’s Coffee shop is today, which at the time was called The Dairy Bar. I saw on my right an old gentleman bent over and walking with the aid of a cane. I thought to myself, “That poor old fellow”. Just as I came up closer and ready to pass him, I glimpsed at his face and realized in complete shock, “Oh my goodness that’s my father!”
My Dad, who when I was young was so strong that he was able to take three of we girls hanging onto his back as he swam out into the lake. My Dad who’s strong but gentle hands played wonderful melodious music on his Hawaiian and Spanish guitars while singing The Old Rugged Cross in his clear tenor voice. My Dad who’s wonderful sense of humour had us all in stitches with his funny jokes, puns and witticisms during happy gatherings and holidays. My Dad who laboured in gold mines and lumber mills to put food on the table and into my hollow leg. My Dad who finished grade thirteen at a time when most men went out to work, usually at the end of grade eight if they were lucky enough to get that far. My Dad who gave up his dream of becoming a doctor because no money was available for that Italian immigrant. My Dad in the ‘twinkling of an eye’ was this old man! All strength and dreams long past, leaning on his cane while struggling with life’s challenges, right up until Jesus called him home in 1984.
Now it is my turn! Time stands still for no one so the old saying goes. Like my dad the oil in my lamp is ready for my entrance into that heavenly city where my Saviour paid dearly for my entrance fee. Heaven, where all who enter through the narrow gate, will once again be young and strong and receive the gift of living eternally with Jesus.
What about you? Is your ‘twinkling’ fading away? Don’t tarry like the virgins who went back for oil and missed the wedding because the door was shut. When they knocked the Bridegroom said “Sorry, you can’t come in as I don’t know you”. There will be no gate crashing at that wedding feast.
So don’t tarry, and remember … “It will come upon you like a thief in the night.”