Tag Archives: time

Violets, Dad, and Time

Every spring there are two sights to which I look forward. One is the violets in April; the other is white blossoms on the trees by the golf course in Seneca Park. I can’t do them justice with words, so I won’t try to describe their beauty, but I may give how they make me feel a shot. When I see the specific blue purple of the violets, I’m moved with a joy inside my chest that makes me want to tear up. I’ve never experienced the feeling of a color so vividly. When I see tree after tree, lining the golf course, blooming in white, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of awe.

I know that nature brings out these feelings in many people and that I am not unique in my experience. What stands out for me though, is the feeling that immediately follows the joy and awe. My whole heart aches with longing. A longing that comes from knowing the violets and the white blossoms won’t last. A yearning to keep them for as long as I can, to be in the moment, and then, to see them again. I long to see them again, even as I am seeing them in the present. It’s like a prayer to be gifted that time…one more time.

It’s especially poignant to me this spring. Having lost my dad in the fall, I wonder if there were beautiful things he experienced, and in those moments, wished fervently to experience again – just once more. It’s clearer now that eventually there will come a time when the violets and the trees will bloom without me. There will be a time where I yearn to experience the joy and awe again, but where it will be my last. And the thing is, I won’t know. Just as he didn’t know. So, the experience of these moments of beauty, encompasses not only the happiness, but the sadness as well. It’s like grieving something you hold in your hands, while it’s in your hands because you know it will disappear.

The other evening, I was talking to a friend about time and we played with the idea that time wasn’t linear and everything was happening all at once. My experience of the violets and the white blossoms pulled that idea from a conversation into reality for me. All at once on my walk yesterday, I was experiencing them for the first time, being present with them in the moment, saying goodbye to them, and longing to see them again.

Today, reflecting, I can’t help but connect that to missing my dad. When I was in college, I watched the movie Shadowlands. There is a quote that C.S. Lewis says, “What I am trying to say is that the pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal.” I guess that is the deal. I’m feeling the loss and yearning to see him again and that hurts, oh so bad, but there is comfort in the lessons of violets and blossoms. A comfort that comes from knowing the experience of loving him in the moments isn’t really gone. Our walks, his eyes, his voice, his hands, his unconditional love – It’s all really happening all at once. I just need to see the experience of his love as whole.

The Only Gift That Matters

It’s always nice to see old friends and ‘tis the season to play catch up as the clock strikes the holidays, but lately it seems I’m always at a loss for words when tasked with the standard, “So, what’s been going on with you?” I mean, I’m no slacker – my list of accomplishments that I will make on Dec. 31st will prove that – but I curiously draw a blank when asked to fill someone in on my life. I don’t have a spouse or kids to talk about and while I love my nieces and nephew, I really have no desire to tell you how they’re doing. I currently don’t even have a love life to catch you up on (although spousal updates rarely sound like a love life, come on)! To top that off, when you really get down to it my work is satisfying – there’s not much to complain or crow about.

While it could very well be that because I am content I don’t have much to say when asked, I think deep down the reason for my reticence is more likely the fact that I know you don’t really care and I am sadly, most of the time, absolutely 100% OK with that. It takes a lot of energy for me to put into words the things that are important to me. The answer to what’s been up with me can’t be cataloged for easy conversation. So, I’ll just say not much, ask you the dreaded question and let you move on with your business after your short, well-rehearsed answer like I’m sure you’re relieved to do.

But every once in a while a soul shines bright in the darkness of busyness and obligation. Every now and then when someone says, “So what’s been going on with you?” they stop what they’re doing and listen. Their eyes light up with interest and when you say, “nothing much,” they don’t jump in with their own memorized answer – they wait until you are uncomfortable enough that you give voice to the truth. You start to share and then without realizing what has happened you begin to hear your own story. A light bulb floats above your head and you are suddenly filled with the feeling that you do have a life and that it matters to someone.

That’s what holiday (actually all) encounters should be about. This holiday season, vow with me to be a light in the darkness, to avoid the pitfalls of shallow conversation and the trivialities of small talk that keep people entombed in the bubble of their own little worlds. I invite you to ask someone, “So, what’s been going on with you?” and let the light of your soul show through your kind eyes and the gift of your time. In that way, maybe we can all be like the star of Bethlehem that led the wise ones to our savior. Maybe we can all be a gift of illumination, because when we let the genuineness of our spirit break through the barriers that modern society constructs, we are Christ for one another…the only gift that matters.

The Lucky One, Time, and Romance

Watching the credits roll for The Lucky One, a few thoughts floated around in my head.  I pondered Zac Efron’s age and if it was appropriate for a woman my age to be so absolutely smitten and the fact that despite the panning from critics, it was a perfectly satisfying movie for its intended audience – hopeless romantics.  But the thought that brought me to my laptop relates to romance and our experience of time. I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed how intricately they connect.

Time is a funny thing.  When you’re doing something you love it can seem to fly by, or exactly the opposite, it can saunter and meander with the best of them.  For me, watching my favorite love stories always slows time down.  There’s something about settling into a film, liking the characters and trusting love will triumph no matter how bleak the picture so you mind as well enjoy the ride, that actually allows me to enjoy the ride.

In a way, real life love leads us into the same kind of experience.  There’s something about falling in love that lets you savor the moments. Days seem longer and hours last forever when you’re with the person you love.  Not only that, the time that you spend away from that person seems to take on a different quality as well.  People you couldn’t stand get a smile and the two minutes you couldn’t be bothered for seems easier to give.

While I’ve experienced both of the above examples, I’ll admit it was something I haven’t that left the little tug in my heart at the end of the movie.  It’s probably the intertwining of time and romance that is least likely to be real, the most mythical part of the romance novel or film.  It may be the reason I sit through sappy flicks, read romance novels, or even choose to write.

In The Lucky One, Logan ends up with a job at Beth’s home.  They are in contact every day.  She watches him reluctantly at first but as TIME goes by she ever so slightly opens herself up to possibility.  The circumstances of their existence give you the confidence that they have all the time in the world to get to where they are going – true love.

How many of us ever really get that? In my everyday life, even if I were to meet a man who I could be interested in (and I am finally ready to really date again), it would have to happen in the small openings of free time here or there.  He would have a job.  I would have a job.  There are family obligations and too many things crowding our lives for what happens in the movies to ever really happen in the light of day.

Sitting in that movie, I could believe for a second that there are places that exist where people have time to fall in love.  When I read a romance novel I enjoy all the time the leads have to spend together without reading about what happened in the 16 hours they weren’t together.  When I write, I can spend as much time as I want with any of my characters.  Is it too much to hope that a love can be organic instead of scheduled? Does love only happen that way when you are independently wealthy or a lottery winner? Or is it in the choices we make? Is it that when we are faced with finding the person we are attracted to, we must choose to see time differently? Do we make our own reality?  Does romance come from time or does time come from romance?