I am coming up for air on the back half of the most strange season of my life.
So many things have happened in such a short time. A short time that feels like an eternity.
How can they feel so torturously long and so incredibly fleeting in the same breath?
At the end of The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams' character, Tom, says that, "time is the longest distance between two places."
Oh how I have lived that. The longest, most foreign distances I have ever known were traveled by my shoeless, uncalloused feet this year. I can assure you (though if you have lived long enough, you can assure yourself) that leaving one place and going to the next- unprepared and without a map- becomes a showdown between yourself and the clock; time ticking torturously slow, hour after inconsolable hour, taunting you with its impeccable attention to punctuality.
Time is the longest distance between two places.
But eventually you arrive. Mangledy-bangledy. With calloused feet, some sort of shoes you created along the way, a weary body and pride. The pride that comes from navigating without a map, without a GPS, without a tangible guide. Just you. The frigging wilderness. And a determination to not turn around or quit... to not sit down by a tree and hope that a family of benevolent squirrels will befriend you, to not camp by a cave and hope to be eaten by a bear or accepted as a man-cub, to not carve your name into the bark and eat the kind of magic berries they ate at Woodstock. (Though let's be honest, when you're in-between, all kinds of options are on the table...)
But to keep moving. To endure. To hope for what cannot be seen. And maybe even learn a thing or two about wilderness survival along the way. About what to do with your soul when the space between point A and point B seems like the space between the gravel trails by the riverbed and the summit, 15,000 feet above you.
The in-between always feels interminable when you are in between.
But eventually you arrive. You really do. You reach the outskirts of the other side, you see the outline of a place you have never known but have fought to see. And it all begins to happen very quickly. The quickness in your step. The trees moving out of your way. The clarity of the path in front of you. The sense of purpose. The dreams surfacing in your soul- as if you never stopped believing. The pride of not being eaten by a bear or joining a family of squirrels or eating the magic-cure-all-berries. The desire to walk faster, to run on calloused feet, to smile and scream and laugh and arrive joyfully broken causes time to change its course.
Now, time flies.
The beat of your own heart flies. You breath in a new way. Deep and with purpose. You know you walked through a wilderness where each moment seemed unbearably slow; but now there are not enough minutes in the day. It all happens so fast, so unexpectedly fast.
When we are again, fully alive, there are never enough moments to be had.
How can one thing that is so scientifically constant, be so inconsistent? How can one year feel like an eternity and the blink of an eye? It's as if time speeds itself up and slows itself down based on the seasons of our souls.
In the season of becoming, time is unforgiving. Lingering on every last second so that we might truly experience the anguish of becoming. And when the soul re-enters a season of purpose and joy, time rushes about, forcing us to choose over and over again what we will wholly give ourselves to.
This long journey of the becoming is finally transforming in front of my eyes into a journey so brimming with new life, that I hardly have enough hours in the day to take it all in. To breathe it deeply enough. Or to sit and dwell on the fact that this exact week, one year ago, my world was turned upside down and I found myself shoeless, with uncalloused feet, dropped at the base of a wilderness I had never known.
I look forward to being able to tell the whole story very soon. But until then- thank you for the many prayers offered on my behalf while I journeyed through the unknown. Through the becoming.
And to the ones who are still in between- I wish I could rush the process along for you. I wish time wasn't the longest distance between two places. But it is. So beware of bears, man-cubs, benevolent squirrels and magic berries (though Lord knows those berries are tempting in the in-between). Don't listen to the ticking of the clock. Take hope. From one mangledy-bangledy person to another...
there is another side.
It might take a year- or two- or five- to get there, but soon enough you will arrive, and time will no longer be the litmus for what is not.
Time will be the great gift for what IS.