What is Life but Timing?
A date once said to me that life is nothing more than timing.
I thought that was an odd characterization at the time, given that I was five years into a fierce tug of war with no end in sight. My puzzlement was even more puzzling to him.
I missed the message then, but I’d say it is true today.
T. S. Eliot captured this sentiment beautifully when he wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, remembered gate.”
I am preparing to make my journey through the unknown remembered gate.
Shortly, I’ll be heading across the pond to my beloved hometown of Liverpool, England, right on the banks of the glorious River Mersey.
The trip was not one I was looking forward to.
My mother is 96 ½ years old and is fading. She is not the same as when I last saw her on her 90th birthday when she was still the star of the show and could belt out a song and a tongue lashing all in one sitting.
I want to hold her hand and give her flowers while she can still smell and hear them and remember who I am.
Freesia and pink roses are her favorites; though she loves all kinds of flowers, she reminded me that is one of the ways we are alike.
After all my dilly-dallying, as she would say, I checked in with Airbnb. A brand new listing popped up for a hi-rise studio flat with a wall of windows and a minimalist vibe overlooking the Liverpool Marina, and I can watch the sunrise over my beloved Mersey.
That clinched it. Booking the flight was easy peasy after that.
Facebook is helping too. I’m booking time with friends and family from back in the day, and a reunion is in the works with some of my very first friends from nursery and Preschool at Harrington County Primary.
One of them, Pat Rankin, nee Ennis, who will be visiting from Australia, remembered that her coat hanger was the one with the picture of cherries. Mine was the ship with a tall red stack with white stripes around its circumference and billows of smoke pouring out.
Our cot blankets, washcloths, and towels had the same symbols.
Funny, isn’t it the things you remember from when you were three years old and had your first foray into socialization and forging friendships?
In all the years I have lived abroad, and in all the times I have returned to Liverpool, this one feels like returning to my roots in a way that adds something to me that I have deeply missed.
Not because I longed for it, but because it went unattended.
A dear friend and mentor in my ministry training of walking beside others on their healing journey shares the story about her mother, who at the end of her life said:
“I walked through life, but I didn’t live.”
That takes my breath away.
Its implications are full of sadness for what she missed and had never known.
Things that her heart and soul ached for.
The unknown remembered gate.
So, I’m curious about you.
What might be waiting for you to re-discover for the first time while there is time?
Where might you return to pick up a piece of the puzzle that has been missing? That perhaps you didn’t notice but feel its absence.
What in your life needs attending to that can no longer wait for the right time?
I encourage you to take heed to the scripture and be strong and courageous, (Joshua 1:9) because there is no time like the present, and that's the point.