I sat at my desk, just thinking, when it occurred to me that I had lived these moments before. I couldn’t remember when, or whether I had dreamed it some night or whether I was simply imagining things, but as I sat there thinking the same old thoughts, those few moments felt familiar. It was an intense feeling, and it made me nostalgic as if there was a time when I had lost something important, and I came into the realization that the life I was living wasn’t anything new.
These nights I have taken to reading. Each night is different in when I go to sleep. But I always start out reading Harry Potter, thinking that it’s high time I read the whole series. After I turn my light off, settle, begin to rest and wait for sleep, all of a sudden I get to thinking and find myself staring into the darkness. The light goes on and I reach for my favorite piece of fiction, A History of Love by Nicole Krauss.
Every night my sister comes and sits on my bed. Sometimes we read, sometimes we laugh and talk until late in the morning, sometimes I tell her stories of ancient kings and queens of Britain, or the Roman Britain period, my favorite subject when I was in school. She listens enraptured, and I am filled with pleasure as I pass on what I have learned to someone else.
Often I read until I fall asleep. In the wintertimes here we usually get a spurt of warm weather. During one of these few warm nights I left my window wide open to get the fresh air inside. It was late and my sister was reading on my bed with me. I was fully relaxed, my mind was soaking in the beauty of what I was reading, I was tired from a long day of work, and the next thing I knew I woke up with my face pressed against the pages of my book, and I heard a hard rain falling on the porch roof just below my window.
Sometimes I wake up to the snow that wrapped itself around everything during the night. I suck the air into my lungs, I breathe hard, I live.
I always like to think of myself as strong and healthy. Yes, I live, I am alive, but far from healthy. And I think to myself, “I am so young, I am full of life, why am I not well?” And I have to realize that it’s not just me. Every human being suffers in his or her own way. Every child is born with its own set of physical imperfections, and I am no exception. I desire perfect health just like everyone does, but also I know I must fight for it. Every day I can wake up dissatisfied, or every day I can wake up feeling myself wrapped in grace and mercy even as I am burrowed in my warm bed.
Maybe the point isn’t doing something new. Maybe it’s not being someone new or living new minutes. True we’re plunged further and further into the future that none of us have experienced yet. Maybe it’s about finding the beauty in every minute, even if it feels like a used minute, a second-hand minute. There’s is nothing new under the sun, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing beautiful, nothing unique.
I have to think of this every day when I feel like I’m living the same life, the same happiness and sadness, satisfaction and dissatisfaction over and over again. Nearly always I fail. But I know I can keep running, I know I can persevere until the end because of the grace given to me.
It should be with delight that I live the same moments over and over again. God delights in doing the same thing, making the same daisies over and over again, making the sun rise in the same place every morning, the planets spinning in their orbits. He delights in running creation, even if for us doing the same thing every day is reduced into the category of the mundane. We must strive to be more like God. It shouldn’t be with a sinking feeling that we go to our work every day, that we feel ourselves living used minutes or hours or years. It should be with freshness and vigour and the will to live fully that we embrace the life that is laid out before us. Because I know that in order to live fully, I don’t need to have perfect health, I don’t need new minutes or more minutes. As Gandalf would say, “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” And it’s true.
What can I make with this time, with this life? And as I look, I see that the answer is full.