“One day you’re the cock of the walk, the next you’re the feather duster.” – P. Morgan
Today, I watched my good friend get married. It was such a lovely occasion that I felt my molten heart pour out of my chest. The lighting was simply perfect: enchantingly colourful, yet mellow enough to set the mood. Add that to some celestial music and you got an atmosphere that milked the soul for all emotion. I looked on, spellbound, until it was time to read the story of time.
Per prevailing customs, it was time for the new bride to bid her parents farewell and proceed to the groom’s side of the hall (and, by symbolism, family). The bride was required to kneel in prayer before her mother. The act itself lasts no more than a couple of minutes; but it’ll feel like an eternity to the trained eye. And, for one laden with emotion, it may be best to look away. Such was the rush!
Mother and daughter clutched in tight embrace, look into each other’s eyes as the old-timer begins to say a few parting words – to God and (wo)man. In that moment, her soul opens up like a budding flower and the deepest emotions becomes as text on walls of her face. In a matter of seconds, the discerning eye can read the full story of time off the walls of her face.
I’d heard her casually refer to the bride as ‘my baby’. But that moment added depth to it. The expression on her face was one of joy, love and pride, all held together by transparent cords of anxiety and disbelief. It was as though she questioned if that was really her daughter. How did she grow up so quickly? Wasn’t it just a few days ago she couldn’t tell what shoe when on what foot? Had she skipped any of life’s many chapters? Was it all a dream? Could this really be happening? All this flashed in one fleeting second before beads of pearly tears wiped the canvas clean.
This month alone, I’ve had three close friends get married. D-day always seemed ages away when each first broached the subject. Then, I wake one morning and suddenly realize it was upon us. Time has been sneaking up on us since forever; 2016 has been no different. It was so last year and the ones before. It may only seem worse because we’re older or busier.
The sheer number of acquaintances who got married last year has greatly shortened the interval before news of another childbirth filters in. Many of these were ‘useless’ guys (forgive me, but men hardly say nice things to each other’s faces) I’d known since before any of us expected to make anything of ourselves.
Today used to be no more than a distant dream. All of a sudden, the one who couldn’t spell her own name now has to take on another. The dependant becomes another’s rock; the abject follower has to lead a pack forthwith. All in the space of a few blinks!
Now, by action or inaction, admission or denial, we’re standing on the edge of a precipice; witnessing a transition of generations: the birthing of fathers and ageing of sons. And I keep asking how we got here. Has it really been so long? Or did I miss anything?
I remember just how much spanking it took to get me to read “she sings well” as a five-year old. I would later go on to say millions of sentences with passable fluidness. I didn’t know this at the time, or I would have highlighted the pointlessness of forcing the inevitable. Maybe I myself would not have felt so abased at my difficulty in grasping something so basic.
Memories of the day I looked my mom in the face and asked what my name actually was are still as fresh as hindsight permits. Some kids in my nursery class had taken it upon themselves to address me by different names. I needed to be sure. Unsurprisingly, it’s felt like only a few days between then and now. Probably because the causal action constantly repeats itself at work.
I don’t mean to trample your right to air opinion, but on this there can be no debate: time truly flies. It doesn’t start out crawling and sauntering before running like the rest of us. It packs its bags and hops on a jet from the get go.
One moment, you’re ambushed by the sun’s piercing rays; the next, you can barely see your own shadow. One day you can’t be trusted to tie your laces; the next you’re being prodded to tie the knot. You’ll find the difference between punctuality and lateness is often down to a few extra winks of sleep. You hang up a call and promise to call back. Before you know it, a full month has gone by. The futility of worrying over missed resolutions quickly becomes apparent in the year’s closing days. The cycle repeats itself – as if for emphasis.
Were this year a book, we’d be neck-deep in its closing chapter. And, if you’re like me, you’d have a ton of things you’re yet to get to; many of which you thought would have been history by March. If you’re like most, you’re probably still dealing with fallout of some of the year’s strange happenings.
I may be wrong, but in my judgement, 2016 has been one of the tougher years in recent human history. Shock and awe wherever one turned. News seemed to get direr by the day. And, just when we thought we’d seen it all, in comes another newsflash! Many of us didn’t think we’d make it this far. But hey!
You see, in spite of all the madness, the year never failed to highlight one thing: time flies; life is fleeting. One moment you’re here; the next you’re there. Today was yesterday and the day before. It’ll come again in a few days. It’s hard to believe how long I’ve been typing this. Look away and a full day is gone. One pause and the year rolls out of view. Time is ever moving – and, with it, the seasons of our lives. That’s a design we’re powerless to alter.
No matter how it may currently seem, no season can last forever. Even the darkest and scariest nights eventually bow to the light of day. It must all pass away. 2016, tough as it was, will not last forever. We can take solace in that and look forward in hope.
Here’s to an amazing 2017 ahead.