Our lives are an accumulation of a variety of moments. I think the cliché is that we all experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. A few of our moments are unpleasant or downright traumatic, but we’ve lived through them.
Because of a dream, I thought about one of those unpleasant moments in my life and a light switched on. If it weren’t for that moment that I often wished I hadn’t experienced, I wouldn’t be here where I am now with all of the awesome goodness that followed “then.”
That moment that I’d rather not relive, turned out to be a necessary piece of the fabric that God has used to knit together my life. Without that particular and specific cog in the wheel, I would never have been catapulted to this place, space, and circumstances, nor developed the character that most of us would identify as personality.
Remember the old adage that bad things happen to good people? This is one of the inexplicable facts of life. Its opposite, good things happen to bad people, is also an observable fact.
Trying to figure out why these things are so is a futile exercise. The result of the exercise would be a banging your head against a wall moment.
I came to a theological conclusion many years ago, based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:5, that God sends sun as well as rain to both good and bad people, alike. Similarly, Peter (I Peter 5:9) says that our fellow human beings all over the world undergo the same sufferings.
I surmise that in order to come to a place of satisfaction with one’s moments in life, either good or bad, we must endure some measure of suffering, or pain. I base this theory on the evolution of the word satisfaction, which can be understood as the performance of penance.
In other words, we pay a price for life-satisfaction. Having experienced what we feel is enough pain, and the cost starts to feel too high, most of us plow forward to reap the rewards of a life well-and-truly lived.
But, in the meantime, there is waiting. During the waiting or the time of paying penance, we usually encounter moments of pretending that what we’ve experienced was enough, already.
Do you remember marking time with the marching band? It’s necessary for getting the rhythm right before taking off down the street.
Rock songs occasionally mark time with the traditional one, two, three, four, sometimes accompanied by the solid click of drum sticks. Then, you’ve learned, the other instruments will take it away, starting the tune that you’re now widely anticipating.
Most of us do a sort of percussive marking time while waiting in line, or waiting for anything. Old timers called it fidgeting.
It can be a tap of the toe, drumming your fingers on a table or grocery cart handles. It can be the more obvious shifting of your body weight from one leg to the other, a little heavier and clunkier than the usual dance. But it’s a dance nonetheless, a noticeable dance of waiting.
There are so many lines, the British call them queues, to wait in these days. I don’t know if there are more today than yesteryear or if people are more impatient or if I’m just noticing more impatience.
Some folks dance with their fingers; the keyboard of their phone, their accompaniment. It’s not as solitary an action as one might think. “Dance with Me” by Orleans and Abba’s “Dancing Queen” come to mind for some reason.
Obviously, these are empirical observations, an anecdotal story, not the heavily scientific kind of fact. However, I invite you to replicate my statements by observing people the next time you find yourself in line somewhere.
You’ll see. There is a rhythm to our moments.