Ah the extra day of February!! The extra moments that we all enjoy in a year when we simply wake up and receive the extra time as an unexpected gift. Seconds, minutes, hours, sifting into our day, slowly adding on to our activities, nudging into our conversations, catching us unaware but affording us with time, unseen, unfelt, unknown but present for each of us.
There’s a part of me that would like to hold this extra time as if it were placed reverently inside the palm of my hand, perhaps like a wrinkled plush blanket with folds upon folds of warmth jumbled into a pile, yet promising a comforting collapse into a safe place, “come, leap into this pattern of tumbling time!”
I know we all wish we could rise up on our tiptoes and crane our necks so we could see over and beyond to what may come next. Our prescheduled days perhaps allow us little options, little opportunities to pause and picture what extra time might mean to us.
Where is it? Why can’t we see it, feel it and know that it is there for us?
Why can’t we fall back on it and let it hold us for just a moment, just a peaceful sigh and a refilling of empowerment? What would it feel like to toss up that bundle of seconds, moments, and hours; so we could let it lightly cover us, not blinding our sight but allowing a filtered transparent look into our future?
Our darling 8-month-old granddaughter came to visit this past weekend. For her, every moment she spends awake she attempts to decipher the meaning of this world around her. She stuffs every toy into her mouth, over her tongue, along her gums (and now two little teeth), to figure out what they are and to make sense of them. She runs her fingers over the ridged bumps, and fluffy pictures in her books. She slams her hands on the piano keys and into her food to create new sounds and to feel what’s before her, what’s offered to her. When I throw a see-through scarf over her head she pushes her nose tightly against it so she can look more clearly through the weave; so she won’t miss the world around her, but push into the time that has draped over her. I look into her eyes peering out, wide open and full of wonder. I can almost hear her say, “What happens next, Nana?”
When I gesture with my hands up and ask where she is, she raises her hands too, but locks her eyes into mine with that questioning, sincere laughing look. She doesn’t know it, she doesn’t understand it, she doesn’t have any concept of time, but she is leaping into it, staring into the unknown. Within the folds of her precious mind she wonders, what happens next?
And so my timely thoughts today focus on how I will look ahead from this leap year day. As I type this message I have already chosen how I am spending my extra time. I want to be enthused and energized by the ways I experience “the new toys” that come into my daily life. Not afraid or fearful, but hopeful and confident in my approach. Each day we clean up and put away the people, the lists, the notes, the conversations, the task items, the repetitive realities, the assembly lines, the deadlines, the dreaded jobs we have to get done, the transfer of to do lists to the next day, the meetings, the traffic congestion, the bill payments. Each day we clean up and put them away and wait for another new start, a new tomorrow. Days end with overpowering reality as the news media reports more depressing accounts of terrorism, politics, and environmental mayhem complete with the viewpoint that we merely exist at the mercy of the world around us. We may find ourselves thinking why do we want any extra time to muddle through what seems like a world slowly colliding in upon itself. What will a few extra moments provide?
What if we hadn’t already defined what time meant to us? What if our day was simply measured by new discoveries, new sensations, and new meanings? What if our day could be interpreted with the eyes and senses of a little child? What if we could anticipate how every person or every conversation could lead us to another understanding of what might come next in our life? What if we looked through to see the world in a new way, to peer up close and look out with a sincere laughing wonder? What if hope truly led us forward, in our thoughts, in our actions, in our words?
What if these extra moments we have received today become timely leaps of thought, helping to empower us to begin each day in an attitude of hope.
Extra time, right in our hands, tumbling towards our finger tips, rolling back and forth ready to be lifted up and thrown over us, to catch us unaware like a little child looking out, wondering what happens next?
Timely leaps of thought, pushing us, reminding us, an extra day can bring us time to hope.