The Hourglass of Joy

After such a week as last week, I’m feeling very small & hushed & I’ve slipped away to the woods with the Farmer & kids. Thank you for prayers last week, for grace as our family tucks away quiet for just a few days…and we’re delighted to invite you up to the front porch to share with some of the best writers on the Web — today, with a forever Word-sister and heart friend — Holley Gerth, author the best-selling You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be..

The sun dips low to kiss the ocean and the waves light up with fire.

I’m standing on the shore of South Padre, a beach I’ve come to with my family since childhood.

I close my eyes and remember the first feel of sand between my toes, of playing with waves like friends, long summer days and sticky car rides.

My grandparents live about an hour away from the shore. Nana slipped home to Jesus in her sleep years ago (has it really been that long?). Poppi is 91 and teaching me what it means to live with resilience.

On this evening he stands next to me. I beckon him closer. He puts an arm around my shoulders. I feel the brush of the watch he’s worn for years.


None of us know how much we have of it. That’s what makes it so precious. And Poppi has taught me many things about using it well.

Time is for people.

He’s still a greeter at his church because he says, “Three hugs a day makes you live longer” (he should know). He’s active in the Gideons. He has lunch with his friends every day. He takes me out for breakfast dates.

Time belongs to God.

I wake in the early morning to find Poppi at the kitchen table, Bible open in his hand. He’s always started his day this way. For as long as I can remember. The Word is alive to him, a guide and friend.

Time can be savored.

Poppi teases my husband, “Don’t come unless you bring some pie with you.”

So we stop on our way into town and pick up two pieces. Melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake and good-as-grandma apple. Poppi digs into one within five minutes of us walking through the door. He knows how to make the most of a moment, especially with a spoon.

This moment now feels like that too—like something to be seized and savored. I close my eyes, feel the wind on my face. I breathe deep of summer. This one and so many before. I can taste salty memories on my tongue. I think of how our experiences become a part of us. They seep in through our eyes, ears, our very skin. We’re made of where we’ve been, of who we’ve loved.

I’m standing in an hourglass. We all are.

I grasp each grain of sand for a second, feel it between my toes, tuck some of it into my heart.

Then I let it go with a smile and sigh.

Because that’s what it takes to be ready for the next bit of joy.

Open hands.

Open eyes.

Open hearts.

We all watch the sunset.

And we wait for Home.

Holley Gerth is the best-selling author of You’re Already Amazing. She’d love to hang out with you at

{Walk With Me Wednesday Posts will return next week… We look forward to your posts regarding The Practice of Joy.}