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Feather's Miscellany: Time And Memory

...Somehow here we are just shadows of the fuller persons we will be in our next life...

John Waddington-Feather brings a happy thought for you to reflect upon,

How time plays tricks on us! I received a phone call the other day from a friend of childhood whom I hadn’t heard about for almost sixty years. Indeed, if the truth were known he’d been somehow pushed to the back of my memory all those years.

I hadn’t had occasion to call him to mind, for we’d gone our separate ways in life and now live in different parts of England miles from each other. Yet immediately he rang me - and in the intervening years his voice had deepened and it took me some seconds to cotton on who was on the phone – memories came flooding back. Both of us were there again revelling in boyhood.

The amazing thing was that once he’d mentioned his name and began reminiscing about our youth in Keighley; and more especially recounting what we got up to in the church choir and at school , and the romps we had in the local park and the visits to the museum there, memories came flooding back, and for a delicious half hour we were boys again, recalling sights and scenes, friends and folk who peopled our youth – memories I thought I’d lost. The sad bit came at the end of our conversation when he spoke of one or two friends who’d passed on – and they’re on a list which grows longer each year now.

That conversation set me thinking how life is a wonderful kaleidoscope, one period of time merging unconsciously and mysteriously into another: babyhood, childhood, adulthood, courtship and marriage, middle-age and now old age. Shakespeare wasn’t far off the mark when he wrote so vividly about the Seven Ages of Man in “As You Like It”; for we live through a series of very varying periods which in the end make up a whole. (That’s what’s so evil about war when man slays his fellow men, women and children to stop them living their full lives.) We are individuals contributing through our lives to a cosmic scheme, which, I believe, goes on being worked out after the death of our bodies.

For as well as a body we have a mind and the mind is an entity we know little about despite all the advances of modern science. The soul is even more enigmatic. Yet the mind nurtures the soul in this life until the time when the soul leaves the body to go on living life in another dimension in a body which somehow is still akin to the body we have here; so much akin that we can share the next life with those we have known in this one.

But what body-age will the soul live in: childhood, youth, adulthood, old age? Who knows? We can only reflect on St Paul’s words of hope and wisdom in his ‘First Letter to the Corinthians’ Chapter 13: “For now we look through a mirror darkly, but then face to face.”

Somehow here we are just shadows of the fuller persons we will be in our next life. What a happy thought to reflect on, that we will share our future life with all the people we have loved and grown up with here, in a life more perfect than this – and for Christians that means a life with Christ and all he stands for.

John Waddington-Feather ©


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