This book, it’s the type that makes you reread sentences and paragraphs and whole pages because you don’t want to lose any of it.
After you get through parts of it you’re afraid you won’t remember all of the goodness inside that fell down and spilled between the pages.
So, if you’re me, you take a pen (or a highlighter) and you press down…and the ink stains the crispy neat paper in all of the places that moved you or made you ache or turned up the corners of your mouth.
And then you feel a little safer…like you’ve pinned down the stirring in your chest, and now the words that knocked it all loose can’t get too far away from you.
But they will. They’ll scatter and dilute and ease back into their ordinary lines and eventually fall meaningless. You’ll revisit the marks you made and notice the absence of stirring and wonder what provoked the movement in the first place.
Because that’s what we’re designed to do.
It’s not the words alone that make you feel things; it’s how they bounce off of the weight you carry and the circumstances you’ve fallen to in the minutes and hours and days that you’ve already lived (some call it your past).
New words kick up the dust of old memories…they give you a meeting place where past and fictional fold comfortably into each other. And now you’re in between the pages, too; feeling feelings the author doesn’t even know about…taking up footholds and finding balance in character victories and insecurities and overall development.
This past weekend I was bartending and the skies covering the CWE decided to open up and sate the dehydrated city walkways via torrential downpour (i.e. it started to rain).
The rain drove all of our customers indoors and I struck up a conversation with a group of 3 gentleman at the end of the bar. The night was forever long and being that I had consumed way too much caffeine I got to feeling a little restless.
So I pulled a nickel from the register, placed it on the bartop between my thumbs, and sent it spinning. The four of us watched the nickel spin and spin and spin…and then eventually slowly tire into a wide wobble and, finally, flatten motionless to the wooden bartop.
As soon as the nickel fell flat I was hit square in the chest with a memory of sitting at my dining room table doing this exact thing with someone who once meant very much to me.
Only two people outrageously in love can turn 5 cents and a quiet evening into an hour-long competition with abdominal-shaping laughter.
And I remember thinking to myself that evening, mid-laughter, heart full, to hang on. To highlight, to underline, to pin down that moment for later.
Because life isn’t always that easy or that happy. Sometimes life can tuck you inside of a dark corner and the moments you’ve kept on the inside of your head are the only light you’ve got.
Time is such a funny thing, though. It’s like a hole in the pocket where you’ve kept all of the good things for later. Quietly and very subtly the things you’ve clung to will fall out on your way to other places.
As you reach for new things and stack them atop the old things, the pressure and the heaviness slowly ease the old out onto the pavement, and suddenly they’re not so close to your body anymore.
And that’s what happened here. Between the happened and the happening, this sweet little memory got lost.
Just like it was supposed to.
Much to my new group of friend’s dismay, I carefully picked the nickel up and placed it back in the drawer. I moved to the opposite end of the bar and struck up a conversation about corks or clouds or something else completely irrelevant. I spent the rest of the evening stacking new atop the old and waiting for this particular memory to fall back to the pavement.
And it did.
Memories are such a fantastic thing. And when they come, regardless of what they are or what emotion they elicit, I hope you make a point to acknowledge them. To smooth them out and let them hang around your shoulders for a while.
Because, at one point, you folded it up and tucked it away for a reason.
And, really, how many more times in your life will the ones that show up make it back around to you again?
We can’t highlight and underline and reread the lives we live. It’s too much to hang on to. We don’t have enough room for it all.
And, honestly, I don’t believe we’re supposed to.
It’s time’s job to come through and loosen the knots and blur the edges, to create space for the things in front of us.
It’s time’s job to leave us with faint, generalized feelings about situations and people…to stretch the past so thin that it’s nearly transparent; acting simply as a net beneath us and a sturdy reference for all of the things ahead of us…and for the pages we haven’t gotten to yet.
So, yes…hang on. Underline, highlight, make a note.
But let time do its job, too.
There are some things in life that have the single and sole purpose of being let go.
Buy this book.
Love you all.