The Rev'd Robert Warren Psalm 126
"When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream."
For a boy who disliked maths and science courses in school, it was odd that I came to love balancing chemical equations when I later upgraded my mandatory grade twelve chemistry in a summer course prior to attending university. The idea that what appeared on one side of an equation needed to be accounted for on the other side appealed to a highly neglected housekeeping side of my personality. It made sense to me that the same things appeared on the right side as the left - albeit in a different and sometimes completed transformed and recombined form.
SnO2 + 2 H2 → Sn + 2 H2O
One looked at the completed equation and said "Yes - it's all different but everything is there"
The course of a successful human life may be charted in a similar fashion. On the left side are the ions and the molecules we take in with us to the reaction: These might be our desires and aspirations. These may include those things our parents and school masters told us were indispensable. Without these things, they warned us solemnly, we wouldn't amount to a hill of beans! We bring to the reaction, as well, our own talents and abilities, not to mention a whole list of day dreams. We carry with us a certain number of painful gaps as well - regions of need and emptiness. We were neglected or put down as children. We were raised by broken people. We have emerged, ourselves, from broken relationships. We failed at something or were badly failed by someone who should have cared for us. We say: whatever is on the right side of the equation had better account as well for what should have been there on the left. The world, other people and maybe even God himself owe me that. There will be no rejoicing unless it's all there.
In a hands-on chemistry class the students all gather to peer into the beaker after the reaction has occurred. They evince some genuine curiosity to see what the reaction has produced. They expect to be surprised. Chemical equations describe actual transformation. Where is our curiosity about our fortunes and our own personal histories? Faithful men and women will not suppose that their ground for thanksgiving is merely the restoration of a twelve-year-old's hopes and dreams or the vindication of an angry young adult in his or her grudge against the world. We have been stirred by the preaching of the Gospel. As we age we look at things differently. Our sense of entitlement itself comes into question. What we see in the bottom of the beaker may be of a differently colour and form than what we first expected.
It's all different but, yes, everything is there.