11:59 Time yet to change

It starts with an analog clock. You make a list of the things that are true and secure and right. These fall into sections of the clock like the segments of the quarter hours. Each of these will require some due consideration, and like a garden will develop and fill in as time progresses. At the beginning the sections will need to be random and at seeming odds with the other items in the groups. It is ok to move the obviously glaring ones to a different section. It is even ok to add a sub section to allow for a likeness of these items, when it is apparent that they are needed. Next, let go of the need for the sections to be the same size, or to have equal numbers of items or that their values need be of the same weights or merits. They don’t have to make sense.

What is on the list? The starting point for this is to realize that you are alone with your list. That the question is asked implies a right and wrong answer, so put down a need for boundaries, and a compliance to them, on your list. I think you get the idea. There is a inner balance thing that requires your “tree of life” to grow straight and vertical, and you are failing to recognize your life is on a jagged side of a cliff. Even as you picture in your mind the idea of a scraggly oak holding on for all of its life in the split between massive stones, you know what I am talking about. And so you begin by realizing that you in fact do have a list, it is all encompassing and it is more firm in your mind than you realized even only moments ago.

Here is a small sampling of starters: the color of your favorite shirt; the number of friends for dinner; the amount of tolerable bounced checks in a month; the amount of book fines at the library; the gender, age, and race of the friend your daughter is sleeping with; the number of cars a neighbor has; the difference in the size of patio of your friends house before you remodel yours; the number and frequency of the guests you have over for supper before they are invited again; the number of items on this list, the number of time you get “saved” at church camp; the closeness to” scary vulnerable” that they should be; the number, placement and caliber of bullets if I get any closer... You get the idea. Ok, so now we have a list.

What is 1159? 1159 is the place that gives you one minute to get things right because your list is found to have an error. It is the chance to be wrong. It is the cushion that will soften the landing and keep the fragile crystal vase from shattering when the thing that matters most on your list is found to be a lie or a fraud. Like the amount of time that your baby should be allowed to live, or the number of dead in the car wreck that your son was in, or the amount of money embezzled by your best friend, or the number of porn sites on your wife’s computer or... well you know what I mean. There is a rule in warfare that says, “the enemy gets a vote”. This means, that there is a chance that your best laid plans will not work like they should. This means that the idea to do something or go somewhere is then met with the reality that the tire is flat, and your plane will leave without you. That the dream of the future of your marriage is cut short by a drunk driver or a lie about the student that said your husband was harassing her, or that it wasn’t a lie and you move in with your dad. It is called life. It happens. Maybe you should put on the list that you think you are immune. 1159 is the chance to look at life and say that the things in life I think are solid may not be, but in this I will be OK, too. Perhaps it is best then to put a :59 in every category, before the shift from each section. It will then allow for a difference of the flexibility from what was sure and true to what is. And with that you may find that the thing that is most true, is of most value.

We started with a clock for this reason. As time moves around the face of the clock, as you move through the seasons of the calendar, we gain a little more experience and wisdom. Some would say pain, and that might be true as well, but on my list, no pain is wasted... but I guess I could be wrong... So as the season ends and the reflection over the past seasons takes place, we hope that the cushion allows for the absorption of the pain, that is life, is better this year than last. Is smoother that it would have been in times gone by. Even as I write this I reveal that in my list is a need or desire for maturity and growth, and so in that category I need to put a :59 in for it too.

After a few years and circles around this clock what you will find is that from the top it is a circle with categories, but from the side it is a odd looking slinky. With the moving up and down the stack, the thickness of each slice is visible to those that will see. From the top, a day will progress into another day, like an endless string of time. Soon your years have past and you are aging. It is what life brings. But from the side, perhaps the thickness of the slice means that the ability to confront the hard things will be less jarring in this season than in times past. Not as a measure of ones value, but as a measure of ones approachability. Willingness to weep with them that weep. To laugh with them that laugh. To hug the one that needs that and to stand firm when it is right to stand firm. I have smoothed the edges of my youth, mostly through the abrasion of the rocks that I threw and the washing by the tears that took the broken parts away. It is as life is, and so it shall be. I hope that the rocks are small and the grinding constant, rather than the big shock that breaks off large pieces of your security. I hope that with time the tears are sooner and that they be of more laughing than sorrow. But I could be wrong.

In this circle of life that is ours, there is this gnawing knowing of a previous passing. I have been here before, and made the same presumptions before and had the same results as before. I have not grown... or have I ? The idea that I recognize it this time reveals that I have grown. I can now look from the lofty place and see that I had repeated the same, as many times past, but this time I see it, and so in this is growth. I can now go back and apologize, correct, make amends. Never before did this moment occur, or I would have done them then rather than now. I am now self aware, well on this one small part of this one small part of me. So perhaps I can grow on some other part as well. Perhaps I need it more than I realized, in more areas than I realized, on more topics than I realized... but then, I could be wrong... 


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