Once again, it’s well after midnight (0225) as I sit down to post the photo for Wednesday.
Unlike last night, I wasn’t preparing lessons for my students.
Rather, I was again watching anime with my college-freshman (home now and distance learning) son. One way he and I connect is by watching things and then talking about what we’ve seen.
As much as I wish he could be in his dorm, on campus, completing his first year of college, I’m also glad to spend this time with him.
I’m thinking of time tonight and not just b/c it’s late and I’m tired.
On Wednesday, time got away from me (in large part b/c I slept until noon) and I didn’t even get out and walk. I’d have liked my Earth Day photo to be something beautiful in creation.
Instead, the image for today is of this quote by Emerson. I first encountered this particular quote back in 1998 when my wife and I were apart during the 1997-1998 school year.
We were far apart. She was in the Boston area – the city where we met when I was getting my M.Ed. at Boston College. When I graduated in August 1997, we had just begun our serious interest in each other. But I’d taken a teaching job back in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’d gone to high school, university and taught for four years.
So we were definitively an entire continent apart.
This was well before smartphones and unlimited calling.
She and I barely even had email to use effectively. So it was cards and letters sent through the mail.
And carefully watching the times when the long distance rates were only five cents a minute and striving to keep our long, long phone calls to those periods.
We knew we wanted to be together when the 2017-2018 school year ended. We also hoped that we’d find ways to be able to fly across the U.S. cheaply once or twice during those nine months.
I spent a lot of that time waiting and longing to be with her.
I’d count down the months, weeks and days until visits.
I’d watch the hours on the clock pass slowly until 9 pm Pacific Saturday night / midnight on Sunday Eastern when those five cent phone rates happened.
At some point in that period apart, I found the quote. I also realized that the time would pass and what I did during that time would shape the rate at which I experienced that time passing.
Lo and behold time eventually did pass and we were together.
This finally happened in the Summer of 1998 when she moved to California to teach near where I taught.
We were married April 5, 1999.
And now, just over twenty-one years later, we’ve been stuck together under the same roof for the past forty days!
Back then, using the wisdom of the Emerson quote, I learned that discernment about what makes a particular period of time “good” is key. As I waited for the time to pass for us to be together face to face, I had a choice.
I could restlessly live in the longing, the counting, the wanting of a differently reality than I had.
Or I could be present in the moment – keep my head where my feet were – and use the time well as I paid attention to what was “good” about it.
This Pandemic Period is a time period that most of us what to pass quickly so that we can get back to “normal” life. Restlessness is growing in the population.
And yet there has been much good happening during this time as individuals, families, neighborhoods and broader communities have settled into a slower, less frantic way of being.
This isn’t the case for everyone – particularly the “front line workers” we’re rightly hailing. I pray and do what I can to support them.
In the end, this time will pass, something like “normal” will return and that will be good.
But there is good here and now. And you and I can make day to day and moment to moment choices as to how we live in this time.
Good is always to be found in every time – we just need to look around and discover it.