Time and Distance


Uncle John Hugen handed me a Bible.
“It was your great grandmother’s.
I think you should have it
You’ll appreciate it more than most.”
Still, it gathers dust up on my bookshelf.
In 1620 it was printed in a language.
I can’t begin to understand,
it becomes a comfortable, sacred relic,
an odd connection to some distant past.
A memory of a time I didn’t, couldn’t know. 

A bespectacled Grandma once held it,
reading ancient Dutch with ease.
Pressing flowers, saving cards of comfort,
writing notes within its priceless pages.
It was her connection to the oldest story.
The greatest story. The story of us all.
A story of the God who made us,
told through countless writers,
over boundless time, Spirit guided.
It was a precious comfort to her. To me. 

Job came to visit from below the sea.
A Holland friend I knew electronically.
A doubter, thinker, theist… a Christian?
He had joined the Village Vespers,
taking broken bread, poured out wine,
flesh and blood connecting to the One.
When morning comes, Job sits at my table,
while I make spicy vegetable omelets.
He lifts the timeworn Bible from the shelf.
It falls opens to his namesake book.

Could it all be happenstance and chance,
that connects distant, discordant friend,
in a desert land where water hardly flows.
Faces facing faces facing ancient faces.
Job reads from Job, tests faith, reason,
and the painful path between the two.
from a four hundred year old Dutch Bible,
that long ago graced great Grandma’s lap.
Time and space and distance all conspired.
I wish I had faith to believe in randomness.


  1. It’s encouraging to see/hear the various ways you reflect on this experience that meant so much to you. Seems like a direct gift from God for you to have had that moment. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Michael

    “Job reads from Job” is a line that just belongs in a poem.

  3. Susan Cepin

    Rod, this poem evokes a longing for home and a hope that mysteries still unfold.

  4. Jim Wroth

    “Time and space and distance all conspired.
    I wish I had faith to believe in randomness.”

    Thanks for observing this and setting it down so well with the questions it raised.

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