So we were traveling to visit family after Christmas and before New Years and stopped off at a gift shop located near a place I lived over twenty years ago. I was mindlessly bumping from one gizmo to another when I came face to face with … a face. And she came face to face with … my face. There was that momentary thousand mile stare and then almost simultaneously recognition overcame both of us. That’s nice because sometimes only one person remembers and its embarrassing for both. “Uh, no, I don’t remember you…” But in this case it was remembering that went both ways: “Well, I can’t believe it!” A quick embrace and we’re talking children and where we live and have lived.
Time is a funny thing. Our experience of it is shaped by lots of things – intensity, boredom, memory, hope, excitement. In a way, I think, time rolls over and caves in on itself. Or at least we experience it that way. What seemed long ago is not, it’s really now. And the future is crashing into the present shaping and reshaping it every moment. Once a theologian by the name of Paul Tillich described it as becoming aware of the “eternal now.” It’s now forever and always.
And so there was the now in the gift shop that brought us into remembrance of the now of our past. The longer life is stretched over the canvas the more the distance between those many nows shrinks. Someday there won’t be any gap at all, in me or in the world. Now in now, all in all. Whether that’s the stuff of mystic consciousness or some derivative of the physics of life I’m not sure. But in the same way that musical notes float in a sea of silence, so do our lives. The space between the notes make them what they are. The time around right now makes it what it is, too.
Oh, and happy anniversary honey. How many years was that? It could have been just yesterday, or an eternity, or maybe both.