In truth, it is like this:
You cannot imagine…
how time can be so still.
And yet there is so little of it.
It goes so slowly.
And yet it is so scarce.
(From the play W;t)
As the year comes to a close tonight, I meditate on time. In my arms I hold a two-month old baby. I think back on my pregnancy- how each day of the first and last trimester weighed heavily upon me – the never-ending morning sickness, the growing heaviness in my body, the aches and pains of my stretching belly. And then, the miracle of her birth, entirely erasing those grueling days and nights of pregnancy as if they never even existed. And now – the sleepless nights, the backbreaking responsibility of being a mother, the never-ending feeling of compassion, love and duty to support my children the best I know how. And like the pregnancy, soon these sleepless nights will quickly fade into pre-school performances, prom nights, graduations, weddings, new births…And in time, I will be sitting on a particular Tuesday or Wednesday in my rocking chair staring at the clock, watching it slowly tick by, pondering the stillness of the passing day.
As I rock her to sleep, I think of my two older children, now six and almost five. Do I remember holding them when they were babies? Their hands seem so big now, as they hold their iPods playing downloaded games from the Internet. When did this happen? Tonight I sat with them both as they fell asleep. In the moonlight, my two-month old looked so tiny against their larger frames. Earlier, we all watched the ball drop as a family as my older children stared at this strange phenomenon with both bewildered and excited eyes. Another year gone by, I think as I watch my new baby’s eyes twinkle at the flickering lights.
This growth, it happens so slowly, one hardly notices the smile that only slightly changes, the finger that only gradually lengthens. And then suddenly, one is shopping for clothes a size bigger. Another birthday shuffles by. One says hello and good-bye to their sisters, their mother, their father on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and with this gap of time, one does begin to notice – their mother’s face has changed, ever so faintly. She looks older, more stressed then the time before. And the leaves change colors as one says good-bye, until the next birthday or holiday comes to pass and she or he visits again.
Today I took my two-month old on a walk and breathed the air for what seemed like the first time in many, many months. I breathed as if it were the first and the last time. An old English professor once told me – this is how I should live my life, like every experience is both my first and my last – as if we are a newborn and as if we will die at a moment’s notice. He said we must touch a leaf as if we’ve never touched it before and as if we never will again. We must drink a glass of wine as if it is our first as well as our last. We must enjoy our experiences to their fullest., taking in each and every moment.
It is my “resolution” this year to celebrate each moment I am given. To not simply trudge through life feeling weighted down and victimized by time. Every second is a miracle, whether it is painful or whether it is beautiful.
In my novel, The Gossamer Thread a rabbi sees death marching toward him in Auschwitz, a boy witnesses his father’s struggle with cancer, a woman grapples with her love relationship and an angel’s Feather ponders and meditates on the tenderness of being human . In our deepest quietest moments we are the angel’s feather, hovering between the mundane and the divine, witnessing earth’s travesties and earth’s miracles. We are only here temporarily floating through space like the Feather. And it is up to us to embrace the fullness of this journey or to let it trickle without any memory through our tired fingers.