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Time’s Not-So-Heavy Hands

Posted in: Blog by admin on September 23, 2010

July 5, 2010


We are enamored with you, yet we detest you.

We watch you, yet we let you slip away.

We celebrate you, yet we fear you.

Personally, I am perplexed by you when I think of your enormity … your strength … your ability to quantify what I do, how long I breathe. At times you are my friend. I am grateful when you grant me the opportunity to sit with my book, to get lost, to dive into another world. At other times, you are my foe. I detest you when your hands stop moving and you stop ticking in someone’s life whom I love.

For years, you have been on my mind. But, tonight, I am especially reflective about your presence for I have caught myself quantifying so much this weekend. I spent the weekend in Disney World, where I had not been for eight years. The last time I was there, I was there with Ben who was just about three at the time. We had met my friends Sari and Jason there with their boys, as well. Tonight, I saw Jason and we talked about our trip there and how it seemed like it was not that long ago.

That’s where you baffle me. Time.

So much has happened. So much pain. So much joy. So many months, days, hours, minutes. Missed opportunities. Songs sung. Tears wept. Smiles stretched. Risks taken. Rewards enjoyed.

As I sat on the Buzz Lightyear ride this weekend, I had a vivid flashback to sitting there with Sari (who has now been gone for six and a half years). Ironically, time is playing with me right now as I type. I had typed the word “dead” but than had to delete it and write “gone” as if she had just “died” yesterday. There’s that part of me that hasn’t absorbed the time that has passed. That wound is still so fresh that I still can’t write about it freely. (Maybe I never will. Maybe that has nothing to do with you, time.)

But there is a positive aspect to that wound’s freshness.

The freshness means that the past is still palpable. That the memories from so many years ago can still feel so current. So tangible. That trip we took together was years ago, but I remember it vividly. I remember our talks, our smiles, our laughter, our boys’ astonishment with the world of Disney. Jason and I talked about how wild it is to think about it today: Our boys were in strollers then, and now his son is off playing in hockey games and preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and mine is off backpacking and canoeing. And, that trip to Disney, (which time tells us was a long time ago) is still so visible in our minds.

So much time has passed.

So much has changed.

Yet, so much from the past has remained.

I was additionally reflective this weekend because it would have been my dad’s 70th birthday. When I talked with my friend Aimee about that, she said, “Isn’t it weird to think that you have now had about the same amount of time with your dad being in your life as you have had without him.” I was 20 when he died, and now, as I approach 40, that fact that Aimee shared is thought-provoking to me. What does that mean that so much time has passed? Are the lessons he taught me any less meaningful? Is his image harder for me to grasp now?

And, what does it mean that Sari has been gone for six and a half years? What is the relevance in the amount of time she has been gone? And, then, why do we hold on so tightly to the number of years that she was here? It was far too few. But, that number of years spent here … What does that really say about us? If she had 32 years or 65 or 99, would her sweetness, her innocence, her beauty be any different? Why do we all grab on to amounts of time so tightly? This is a hard concept for me to articulate, and I don’t mean to act as if our days on this Earth aren’t important. It is, of course, beyond tragic that a life like Sari’s was cut so grossly short. But, the importance we place on the number of years here, the number of years gone … that is what I’m challenging. That is what I’m considering.

I realize as I think about time tonight that I am relating it to loss. Of course, we love to celebrate time, too, as I initially stated. We celebrate Golden Anniversaries, 40th birthdays, first birthdays … with so much pride. We have made it. We can mark it down. Look! It’s right here on the calendar. It’s my dad’s 70th birthday. What would that have meant? To make it to 70? Why did we want Hy to make it to 100? What does that quantity of time on this Earth really signify? That amount of time spent in a marriage? That we won our battle with time? That is an impossibility, right?

You, time, you always win in the end. You keep on ticking. We … don’t.

Yet, we still step up to the plate to swing at your pitch.

Well, here’s what I’ve decided as you have swarmed around my space for so long:

I’m not trying to knock one out of the park. I don’t even want to play against you. Instead, I’m going to take away this exorbitant amount of power that we bestow upon you. Maybe you’re not this force to be reckoned with … maybe we have nothing to fear. Maybe, just maybe, it’s simply about the moments. Maybe it’s not about you at all!

It’s about now.

Now, we have you. You are right here in the palm of my hand. I see you. I taste you. I feel you. I absorb you. I celebrate you. RIGHT NOW. This is all I have. This moment. I thank you for it, and I celebrate it.

And, I thank you, in this moment, for allowing me to be reflective when I choose to be reflective. For allowing me to dream of the future when I feel imaginative. I thank you for the crisp memories of people I have lost. For with these memories, I feel their presence, in my present.

Now, nothing is lost.

Now, I have nothing to fear.

Now, I am breathing. I am remembering. I am celebrating. I am smiling.

And, I am getting closer to cracking your code.

Even though you are all about quantity on the surface, I have begun to see that underneath that surface lurks the vast world of quality.

And, that is more powerful than you.

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