So we’re off and running into another year, another month, another day. Funny how we take it all for granted. One hour we’re a child, next day we’re raising one, then another. This week we run a marathon, next month we need a walker. A minute ago I cried for my mother, at week’s end I’m at my grandson’s game.
To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Somewhere amongst this ever-going process we fit in, both collectively and individually. Some of us keep up, some fall back while others accelerate far ahead. The two constants are time and place. We are always at a specific place at a specific time. Either element can have profound influence on our life, or absolutely none at all. Usually it’s the latter, considering all the places we are placed in within a lifetime. How many times have you heard about someone who missed their flight or decided not to go on a trip only to find out later had they gone, they would have been in a terrible accident. Time and place. The reverse is true. Think about every minute you are not somewhere where something bad happens. Yet it was just as easy for you to have been in that place at that time. You may call that fate.
I have always been fascinated with the concept of time and place. It is the theme of one of my novels, THE POPE’S STONE. We all have second thoughts about how we may have handled a particular circumstance that may have worked in our favor, or not. It may have been a dumb mistake you made on a test; or maybe you left the wrong impression during a job interview; or the girl next door, the one you’d really like to ask out, thinks you’re a dork. All these situations were caused by you’re doing something contrary at the intersection of time and place, exactly when and where the crash took place.
It’s enough to make you superstitious. You may find yourself leaving for a destination a few minutes earlier, or later. Maybe the route you drive every day is one you should deviate from today…or is it tomorrow?
I know this. In the wee small hours on the night of April 3, 2020, I fell out of a chair I had fallen asleep in. My face smashed into the new hardwood floors we had just installed. The degenerative arthritis that spread through the bones in my neck did not absorb the shock. If I hadn’t been in that specific place at that specific time, I would not have just lived the most miserable year-and-a-half of my life and I would not be facing a third surgery inside my neck as a surgeon attempts to salvage what’s left of my cervical spine and all the sensations of life and mobility that exist in that small space. Time and place, two elements we confront every moment of our days and weeks and months and years…over which we have absolutely no control.