Sitting in a moving car it is easy to have the perception that you aren't going very fast at all. The flow of traffic gives the appearance of moderate motion. This is especially true on long journeys where there is little stopping and starting and the cars beside you glide along comfortably.
It isn't until you are parked on the shoulder that you realize how quickly all the cars are passing.
Another year has come to an end. It is on days like this where we pull over to the side of the road and glimpse just how fast time moves. These days are precious in gaining perspective. We step outside the fray and remind ourselves to be aware of where we are because the miles are moving faster than we expected.
Tonight I tucked Vivian into bed and dusted off a memory of a baby and a crib that feels ancient now. I stayed beside her, gazing down, realizing that this present crisp reality of her girlhood will soon become another shadow I must pull from the vault of my past. Always pulling as I move faster and further away from the place I am at now.
I want to steal her as I have her and hide her away where she'll never leave me. But she went to bed, and I closed the door. In the morning she will rise and in the evening I will put her to bed again. Unspectacular bookends for everything significant.
I am not good at being where I am. I am always waiting for what's ahead or longing for where I was.
I want to remain outside of the traffic and be nowhere, but I can't. It is impossible to linger on the shoulder. If we do we lose the life we are trying to save. Besides, we have no choice. We must keep moving.
The speed of time cannot be altered, but we can make a point not to drift through it or forget just how little of it we have.
If I can learn to open myself wide to take in all of the unfolding scenery directly around me I can better preserve its potency. By being as present as I can be now I will be better able to recall on the days I wish to remember. And the future isn't a place I can ever reach. Trying to live there only takes energy I could be using to be inside the time I have been given.
This year I am still learning the lesson of being alert, of being right where I am right now. I am a slow learner in this, but thankfully God is patient.