in this life, some days go by slow. they drag on and on and on. you look at the clock and you see only 15 minutes have passed…you swore it should be more like two hours. days go by slow when you want them to hurry. they never go by slow when you want a moment to last forever.
for me, though, most of my days are just like my favorite song says. “the clock on the wall has been stuck at three for days, and days.”
my days exist. i exist. every hour is three. every minute is three. every second is three.
i look out and i absently stare at the world moving in front of me. sometimes it moves fast, as if someone has pushed the fast-forward button on life. the people, the cars, the sunsets all move with a careless speed that never stops to see me. i am invisible. sometimes the world is spinning on slow motion. all the humans move at a whisper. the sunrises bring life at a snail’s pace. flowers bloom over years. no one ever stops to see me.
i look out and i absently stare at the world moving in front of me. sometimes it moves in real time. in real time i capture all of the world’s darkness in my pores. the evil of humanity flows into my soul and weeps. i absently stare into a world that cannot hear the wails of it’s inhabitants. but i can. i’m silent. people pass me every second of everyday. the blood runs freely from all the wounds that have been made. there is a pool to swim in.
and yet no one ever stops to see me. i am invisible.
people stare. the flowers stare. the sunrises warm me and the sunsets cool me down. as they walk by, i am carelessly shoved and ran over. people talk at me. people talk over me. no one ever stops to see me. i am never forced to focus. i am nothing in a world full of somethings.
today has gone by so slow but has been filled with so much thought. it’s been almost brutal in its depth. who do i share it with? the wind. the wind always listens intently and then softly carries it with him as he flows along his route. he never forgets what i say, because he wraps me up with warm memories whenever he returns to listen. the winter wind has a bite today.
i listened to a tape today of a man speak of his shortcomings. he spoke of his perceived failures. he spoke of his regrets. in this mans voice was genuine pain and sorrow. one would think that the shortcomings and failures would be about aspirations not achieved, goals not met, career levels unattained…and one would assume that his regrets would be about things in life he didn’t have.
every now and again, this world is blessed with a gem. often, these gems are not discovered until they are gone. until they are considered rare. in their own time, during their own reign, when they were the stones placed front and center that’s all people saw. stones. gray. dull. boring. inadequate. history is full of these stories.
it’s so much more magical when you get to see the entire story from beginning to end.
i never knew i had a front row seat to one of the greatest shows on earth. i have actually had front row seats to a few really good ones. life changing. but for today, i’ll stay on this one. when they are but a mere stone, even those that see a polished stone often never see the ruby within. some of us were lucky enough to see a hint of something deep red mixed in with the beautiful, smooth, polished black…and better people than i saw the ruby. but as life unfolds and the polished black wears off the stone you get to see what its true gem is.
recently everyone was informed that this man was, in fact, a ruby. blood red. love. integrity. honor. courage. humility. humor. character. sacrifice. faith. service. blood red.
you see, the shortcomings…the perceived failures…the regrets that he spoke so passionately about were not about, or for, himself at all. he spoke of things he had not been able to do for others, primarily his family. he spoke about how he felt he had let them down in different ways (he hadn’t). he was the type of man that never settled for who he was. he was always striving for who he could be. he felt like he had failed his family, his nation by not achieving certain milestones…not himself. he served others before himself. he wept over the shame of leaving a legacy that he felt was below what his family deserved.
it’s ironic how the best of the best never know who they are. the legends never know they are legends. history makers never know they have made history. he built a family of love and integrity who serve and maintain his legacy with honor and pride. a legacy that will never fully be lived up to. most often the person that sets the standard is taller than everyone else trying to achieve it.
loving your family, for most people, is quite easy. striving to make the best life possible for them is natural. yes. caring and loving an ungrateful nation in the moment is class. it is elegance. it is merciful. showing grace to the masses is a biblical principle not often portrayed in leaders or in people of power. caring more about humanity, as a whole, than himself on a global scale…to value potential lives lost before a war even started…to weigh the cost versus the greater good and to shed a tear. you just don’t see that anymore.
so when i was sitting there silently today, absently staring at the world and watching everything and everyone pass me by, i suddenly heard a man speaking into a recorder. and this man spoke of his shortcomings. he spoke of his perceived failures. he spoke of his regrets.
the life and the raw emotion in his voice made me focus.
my absent stare turned to focus on this man’s voice in that hour of this day. in that hour i listened to a ruby speak of how he loved his family, he loved his nation and he loved his Maker. i listened to a man speak about how he always strived to be more today than yesterday. i listened to a man tell me who he was looking forward to seeing when he made it to Heaven. in that hour, on this day i focussed on this man and his words…and i wept.
somehow this man, through his recorder, through the television, while life was moving in real time, got me to focus. once i focussed, i heard his words. words worth hearing. the sorrow he communicated was so genuine and moving. it was a silent communication between two strangers who never met, who were not even in the same world together anymore. his words are, though. his passion is. his legacy is. everything he was, is still here in some way. and in using all of that,
he stopped to see me.
time still stood still. there was no epiphany. i gained no insight or clarity of mind. i’m not a changed person from this. i simply got to just be with this man, in some way, while our two hearts communicated the same, unspoken emotion that was silently relayed on his recordings. a genuine sorrow for never being enough.
many people claim to feel this way, but it is such a deep feeling it is better left felt than explained. you can hear it in a voice of one when they speak about themselves and their accomplishments. the conversation never centers around what they, in fact, succeeded on. their regrets and failures never center on themselves. the conversations are always about what they did not achieve and who they let down. up until today i never knew that he was the same as i am. he had depth, but i did not know that part of that depth was rooted on the misconception that he was never enough. and i found myself praying that the Lord finally told him that he was enough.
of course immediately after, the noise flooded my head, life was put on fast-forward and i began to stare absently as life passed me by. people ran hurriedly to and from the destinations without ever stopping to smell the flowers that took years to bloom. the alone, the poor, the sick, the abused all continued their wailing and it was only i who could hear them. or i was the only one who bothered to hear them. as people carelessly shoved me to and fro, cuts and bruises were made on already scarred skin and new drops of blood were added to the dried pool. unlike in my favorite song, the rain never came and washed it away. i just stood there in it, waiting to be noticed again. i wondered though, if, in fact, the other line in the song would prove to be true someday.
“it’s all gonna end and it might as well be my fault.”
the million dollar question these days. no one seems to have an answer to it. not even me. but unlike the clock on the wall, this has a time limit. i can feel it. one cannot live in limbo forever. at some point you either have to go for it or cut your losses (literally). right now, again, i am right at the point in the song where, “she screams, and her voice is straining.”
so until it’s decided, i’ll continue to absently stare as life passes me by. people will bump into me, not even noticing (or caring) that i was right there. i will continue to be invisible. and “the clock on the wall [will be] stuck at three for days, and days.” because in my world “it’s three a.m. i must be lonely.” and i really “can’t help but be scared of it all sometimes.”