Write In Between

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Sheldon Vanauken

In a golden summer when our love was young Davy and I had sat on a stone wall... and talked about unpressured time--time to sit on stone walls, time to see beauty, time to stare as long as sheep and cows... we had spoken of 'moments made eternity', meaning what are called timeless moments, moments precisely without the pressure of time--moments that might be called, indeed, timeful moments. Or time-free moments....

The timelessness that seems to reside in the the future or in the past is an illusion... The future dream charms us because of its timelessness; and I think most of the charm we see in the 'good old days' is no less an illusion of timelessness.

In the reality of Now the clock is always ticking.

And yet, after all, the clock is not always ticking. Sometimes it stops and then we are happiest. Sometimes--more precisely, some-not-times--we find 'the still point of the the turning world'. All our most lovely moments are timeless. Certainly it was so for Davy and me... I think we sought the timeless by a kind of intuition. Timeless moments--that 'still point'.... [this] may suggest whether, as I believe, the longing for eternity is built-in to us all...

If, indeed, we all have a kind of appetite for eternity, we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a society that frustrates our longing at every turn... Never were people more harried by time...

And yet... time is our natural environment. We live in time as we live in the air we breathe. And we love the air--who has not taken deep breaths of pure, fresh, country air, just for the pleasure of it? How strange that we cannot love time. It spoils our loveliest moments...

Then, if we complain of time and take such joy in the seemingly timeless moment, what does that suggest?

It suggests that we have not always been or will not always be purely temporal creatures. It suggests that we were created for eternity. Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it. We are always amazed at it--how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry, has the time gone? We aren't adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.

-----Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy.

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