Time, and Time Again

I ran into someone this morning who I haven't seen in ages, and by ages, I mean about six months. As I spotted her from across the room, it felt like practically a lifetime had passed since we'd last encountered one another. She was someone who I was friendly with for only a brief time, and for whatever reason, that time has a stark contrast the one I'm in now. When I last saw her half a year ago, I don't know if I knew then that I would ever not be where I was when she met me. Now, here I was, looking at her with a completely different air about me, hardly able to believe ones air could change so much in a mere six months. 

As I drove away from our encounter, I noticed a jewelry store on my way home. They sold sterling silver jewelry and their concept reminded me of an old silver ring I once bought with a lotus flower engraved in it. The lotus symbolized a certain uprooting from the shackles of materialism for me, and I was urged to buy the ring when I was going through a period of having to let go of certain creature comforts I'd gotten used to over the course of my life. Having less access to some of these comforts prompted a level of spiritual awakening for me that was timely and appropriate when it came, and the lotus ring was something I could look at when I felt less than thrilled about what I was experiencing. It reminded that I was going through something meaningful. Several months after purchasing the ring and hardly taking it off, I put it down somewhere in my closet and it practically vanished. It had become this huge part of my identity and the way I saw myself, but it was gone forever. I never saw the ring again.

I couldn't understand how something so sacred to me could just vanish like that. The ring was more than just a ring, it represented the woman I was growing into, and a rather positive time in my life as well. It became clear later on that losing the ring symbolized one chapter in my life ending, and it was one I wasn't ready to walk away from.

I didn't want it to end, but it was time to start walking into the next one even if I never would have voluntarily started those next steps. Losing the ring was like taking the first one, even though I didn't know it and couldn't understand it at the time. What the lotus symbolized for me had worked it's magic in my life for the time being, it had prepared me for the next phase in my journey and it was time to let go and move on, even though I couldn't have felt less ready for any of it. For a long time after that symbolic moment, I felt like I was walking in the dark, unable to see where I was going or why I had to step out of the light for a second. It was only when light began to present itself again that I could develop some sense of understanding for why it was important to let go of what I was holding onto the last time I'd felt the warmth of the sunshine.

In the less sunny moments, it's been easy to wish for what would happen next, to look to the future as the calm in the stream that was coming toward me, no need to worry. What I've learned is that whether I'm looking forward to it or not, life's perfect impermanence is going to manifest itself in one way or another.

I get a kick out of telling stories to other people about some distant time in the past that seems so far away, only to get the response "You know, Laura, that actually wasn't that long ago." Call it being a young person, or growing too fast and all the time, maybe it's my age that makes it all seem like it's happening so fast and so slowly all at the same time.

What I do know is that while I'm here, I'm going to enjoy the ride - what seems far away actually wasn't that long ago, like my friends keep saying, and what's around the corner will be here before I know it. What's right now, I won't get back, and soon it will be what I'm looking back on like it happened last millennium. I'm getting at this point that I have pretty much zero control over when each chapter begins and ends, so being here and being here now, I have to assume is where all the joy is...no matter what chapter I'm in.