The Rhythm of Eternity

The Rhythm of Eternity

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

My college-age son is home for the weekend. He is my delight and joy and the welcome of my heart on every occasion. He is becoming the man I never imagined him to be because as a young mother at twenty-three, I wasn’t prone to my imagination. I was simply prone to survival. Both his and mine.

In many ways, those days seem long ago and packed away as a seasonal remembrance. I don’t recall them often. But every now and then, even though he is well on his path toward manhood, I am reminded about the springtime of his youthful beginnings. I catch a glimpse of a little blonde-headed boy who took to life with a passion for the process. It was a process seeded and watered and grown alongside his younger brother.

They are quite a pair. Best friends. Fierce warriors. Competitive in most things, yet quick to applaud one another’s accolades. I can’t imagine one without the other, but when Nick left home almost two years ago, I had to. Imagine. Them apart. The silence was palpable. The room above my bedroom no longer bore the strain of two sets of feet. The late night conversations between them no longer kept me awake or forced my intrusion in the matter.

And while I welcome the more quiet approach to nighttime routine, I miss their voices. I miss their laughter. I miss knowing that all of my children are safe and sound and tucked in for another night of rest under my roof. We don’t have many of those nights now, but when we do—when Nick comes home to rest in his old and with his familiar—the floors creak their resistance and the late night conversations return.

Last night was one of those nights. Rather than reaching for the broom that stands bedside as my implement for reminding the boys about my need for rest, I reached for the earplugs. And instead of hearing the sounds of my sons’ laughter and conversation, I heard the echoes of something far different. Remote at first. Louder and more persistent as time elapsed.

I heard the beat of my own heart.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Over and over again, until the sound took the stage of my imagination, and I began to ponder the magnitude of what I was hearing. Last night, over the din of an upstairs conversation and through the rhythmic lull of a heart’s beat, I heard the cadence of heaven’s pulse. I heard …


What does eternity sound like? How does it hear? Greater still, how does it breathe?

It sounds precise and continuous. It hears vivid and real. It breathes genuine and on purpose. One beat after another and with the focused intention of keeping me alive and keeping me as useful.

God knew what he was doing when he seeded eternity into the hearts of men and women. No other vessel in the human body could house such significance. No other organ could more appropriately dress the magnitude of such a gift. No other portion of this fleshly frame could support the creative genius of an eternal pulse. None. Why?

Because our hearts are the navigational force behind our steps.

Our feet won’t move forward without the beat of the heart.
Our minds won’t motion their purpose without the beat of the heart.
Our giftings won’t serve the world without the beat of the heart.
Our plans won’t come to fruition without the beat of the heart.
Our love won’t wrap its arms without the beat of the heart.
Our souls won’t find their rest without the beat of the heart.
Our sins won’t find their grace without the beat of the heart.
Our lives won’t live their sacred worth without the beat of the heart.

In every way and in every day, the heart completely and holy matters. The heart is the significant linchpin when it comes to living the gift of a single day. Without its pulse, we are dead. Done. Completely and fully out of options. When the heart stops servicing our frames, the eternal seeding therein moves elsewhere.

Either onto the full and promised perfection of heaven or into the full and promised ruination of hell. That, my friends, is what eternity sounds like. That is how it hears and, greater still, that is how it breathes.


Not just today or in the things that we can touch and feel and manage with our minds. But for always and especially in ways that are beyond our understanding and our reasoned grasp. There are untold mysteries encased within the parameters of a heart’s pulse. We cannot fully fathom nor plumb the depths of such treasures.

If we are Christians, then we can begin in our understanding of one of them. His name is Jesus, and he owns the pulse of our hearts. He lives within this sacred vessel and tends to our eternal seed with the loving grace that will carry us home to our forever.

But for those who are not Christians, for those who have yet to begin in their understanding of all things sacred, their eternal seed lies dormant. Tended to by the wisdom and careful watch of an enemy who shrouds the truth of God’s unseen eternal with the lies of a temporal “as good as it gets.” With the voice that breathes the deception of…

An absent everlasting seed.
A day that walks in isolation.
A life not worthy of further examination.

Regardless of the lie, eternity’s seed still exists. No amount of pretending that it doesn’t changes the truth that it does, in fact, exist. Every human being is created with a heart worthy of heaven. In this very moment, it beats with the witness of sacred possibility. For you. For me and for the sake and salvation of a created race who has never taken the time to listen. Can you hear it? Won’t you try?

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.
Thump … thump.
T h u m p.
T h h h—————————-u———————m——————————–p.

Where will your eternity land?

With holy fear and trembling, I pray that yours will be seeded and watered alongside mine … with Jesus in heaven. Thus I pray,

Thank you for seeding us all with the gift of eternity, Father, even when our soiled hearts refuse the planting. Prod us toward further understanding in the matter, and stir our need in restless confusion until we pause to clarify your truth. Thank you for choosing the likes of my heart as your dwelling. Make me ever mindful of your presence within and ever careful to acknowledge your living witness to others. You are the treasure of my flesh. Thank you for making me yours. Amen.

Have a blessed Sabbath rest, sweet ones. You have been so kind and gracious in your words and prayers for me this week. I love you dearly. Shalom!

Copyright © October 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.

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20 Responses to The Rhythm of Eternity

  1. The word picture you created actually brought a lump to my throat, a tear to my eye. Oh those captivating cadences!


  2. Speaking of heart’s beating, you got mine thumping right out of my chest. Wow, what words to ponder, examine, think over…

    Wow, thank you!

  3. Elaine,
    I don’t usually read blogs on the weekend (a girl’s gotta’ have some boundaries!) but I’m so glad I broke my rules and read just one blog…yours.

    Wonderful illustration! Beautiful, captivating and life-giving.

    Thank you!

  4. I hung on to every word. I found out yesterday that a man I look up to in the faith…he is truly a man after God’s own heart..has cancer. He is already in the last stages. Oh, how sweet the thought of eternity is tonight…

  5. Elaine, am glad you’re enjoying a visit from your son. I remember how excited I was when my girls came home from college for a weekend. And of course, it never seemed long enough…

    Also wanted to let you know I just added your link to my site. Am happy to help direct others over to your wonderful blog!

  6. I love how you wrote He seeded eternity in our hearts. This was such a meaningful post for me. As a cardiac nurse, I know firsthand how vital our hearts really are. And yet what a picture you portrayed with your words to think beyond the literal to the spiritual…and eternity.

    My heart is burdened for loved ones whose hearts have not been awakened to truth about eternity.

  7. You brought tears to my eyes, Elaine. Such profundity here, and such a wonderful and important message. I will definitely be listening for eternity this evening, in the stillness. Blessings to you, dear friend.

  8. What a tender, beautiful post.

    I so enjoy visits with my eldest son. It does my HEART good.


  9. wifeforthejourney:

    For all the times we have heard our Ancients counsel “how fast they grow up,” how many times did we discount what they wanted us to know? When we were in the middle of those days of Nick and Colton’s childhood, the clock on the wall scarcely seemed to move. How is it they are BOTH on the verge of being in college?

    We are indeed blessed, but I can celebrate the blessing of the NOW because of the promise of ETERNITY. Thanks be to God for these days of life, and health and strength. While we are taking stock of life with our kids, may we all (those of us that are married) also keep in mind that as our kids grow up, we still need to be growing together as husbands and wives.

    Its great to know that God has given me a partner to outlast diapers, birthday parties, school plays, basketball games, driver’s licenses, and graduation day. I wouldn’t trade being a “family man” for anything, but being the man married to Elaine, well, lets just say that’s a part of my own peaceforthejourney!

  10. I read this post with tears streaming down my face. We also have two sons, and one is in college. The other is a senior in high school. I completely related to what you were sharing about your boys.

    What an adjustment it has been for us to accept the fact that our oldest has grown up. We’ve tried our best to prepare him for the world and for eternity. Yes, he is a child of God. He knows Jesus as his Savior. I pray that our son will always seek the heart of God!

  11. Elaine,

    This one is hard for me to imagine. As I stand at the doorway and hear my Cameron and Joshua, I cannot imagine life without them here in this house. It seems as though these last 10 years I have not focused on more than my two boys. I will have to pray for Gods help with the growing as husbands and wives though. Thanks to Billy for that reminder.

  12. Hey, Elaine.
    Oh. I just saw the future. You know I have two boys too, right? Your description of your sons made my heart go pitty-pat as I heard the giggles carry down my stairs. i can’t imagine one without the other. So difficult to think of that time when they will leave me. But it is that Third Presence of which you speak that gives my heart comfort. The Father of all Comfort, The One Who Sees. I know they will be well cared for, just as your boys are.
    love to you, friend.

  13. Being a cardiac nurse I really love this one!! What valuable truth you have here!!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  14. What beautiful, tender words. I was nodding my head as I related to the sweetness of having your son home. How Colton must have savored that time, too. Imagining them growing up together and having such a close bond touched this Momma’s heart deeply. How sweetly you must have slept thinking about the familiarity of their late night conversation. I love how that lead you into your reflection about the heart and eternity. You’ve given me much to ponder, with joy and gratitude.
    Thank you, sweet one.


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