Standing Outside of Time
Standing outside the iron bars of Time, the written word watches us like a little boy licking an ice cream cone watches tigers in a zoo cage, not caring at all that tigers like ice cream, too.
The tigers are trapped.
The boy is not.
Likewise, you and I are trapped in Time, the fourth dimension.
The written word is not.
The ice cream cone held by the written word is truth and laughter and wit and compassion, all the best of the past we’d like to bring forward.
Writing transcends the fourth dimension.
The written word is a message in a bottle flung through Time by a tiger marooned on a tiny speck of dust circling an 11,000-degree fireball as it shoots through a limitless vacuum at 252 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
That tiny speck of dust is our zoo cage earth.
Seven billion of us tigers are crowded onto it.
We fling our messages into the future with no guarantee they will ever be read.
We think other tigers hear us immediately when we write, but they never do. There is always a delay. And sometimes that delay is longer than the writer expected.
I am the worst offender.
Moments ago, I picked up from my desk a book, Secrets in the Dark, by Frederick Buechner. A friend gave me this book more than a year ago. When I thumbed through it just now I found a handwritten note that had waited more than 400 days for my eyes to pass over it:
Most days I’m not sure where I stand on the spectrum of
“God vs. no God.” But regardless, it is books like these
that keep me held – if only tenuously – to a version of belief.
Maybe someday I’ll get better at separating my own past from
possible truths and believe as Chesterton did, “Real development
is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as a root.” I hope you enjoy it as I have.
That note was not discouraged by the 400 days.
I wish I could say the same for my friend.
“You remember emails you sent that were not answered
better than emails that you did not answer.”
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb