timelessness in time

there is this moment at the end of tchaikovsky's sixth symphony, as the basses draw their bows to sound the last note, when the physical waves of sound have stopped but the listener could swear that she hears the heartbeat bass line continue. it is a moment frozen in--or rather, unaffected by time. the listener is suspended, untouchable, breathless... subsumed. the song continues within, and she is never the same.

then the conductor lowers the wand, cuing the audience to applaud, and the listener is snapped back into reality, separated into autonomy again. the soloists stand. the orchestra vacates the stage, the audience dissipates into their cars and cabs, the lights are turned, the doors are locked, and the only song that remains is the hum of the janitor's vacuum over the lobby floor.

sometimes i feel like i'm supposed to live in that moment. that's where i'm supposed to remain. i was made to be there. subsumed. but then, as with the thunderous applause, i get pulled back into time and space, unwillingly, and i am shoved into the menial demands of survival, like one of so many cogs in a great, unknowable mechanism. and i can be a good cog, too. but even a good cog is still not alive.

i know that i'm still living in the world of a dim mirror, a world where i am surrounded by so many shadowy copies of the Heavenly Truth. i know that i am wrapped in flesh, i know that i have ashes in my mouth, i know that my breath is fleeting and the work of my hands is chaff that will be burned away. but there is something even more fundamentally true, and that is that even though everything i have ever known is temporary, i was made for the eternal. for permanence. for literal breathlessness. there is something in me that is more real, more true than the marrow in my bones and the words in my mouth. this flesh will melt away, this mortal shell is a servant to the space and time that it occupies. and what will remain?

i have this mental image of coming up for air. i was made for permanent union with a perfectly good God outside of time and space. but as i am bound by these fetters He has put on me, i can only catch a glimpse here and there. and each glimpse is a life-giving breath. with each glimpse, i am subsumed. i want to stay here forever, but i can't do that and live. no man can see God and live, right Moses? either i am caught up, or i am just caught. and while i am caught, i am sustained by each break in clouds where i can draw that life-giving breath.

oh, for the eternity that already is: come soon.

1 comment:

  1. i love that picture of coming up for air.
    thanks for posting this.
    i needed to read it today.