Hallmarks of the Luminous Interlude

January 18, 1981

May 1999


May 29, 2003

June 29, 2003

Dec. 4, 2003

June 2004

Nov. 18, 2004

Feb. 22, 2005

Mar. 7, 2005

July 19, 2005

Sept. 7, 2005

Mar. 12, 2006

“I once set out from a dark point, the Womb, and now I proceed to another dark point, the Tomb….We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.

I have one longing only:  to grasp what is hidden behind appearances, to ferretout that mystery which brings me to birth and then kills me, to discover if behind the visible and unceasing stream of the world an invisible and immutable presence is hiding.  –Nikos Kazantzakis

Today in a journalling exercise, I found myself listing important events in my life.  For whatever reason, I wrote each with it’s respective date or timeframe. 

The important part of the exercise was seeing further than the days and events themselves into how they formed me…  and how I found God at work. 

Partly because I was in a rushed small group training session at the time, and our beloved leader was crunched on time and answering questions throughout the exercise, I didn’t get to that second part.  So… I just sat there and studied the dates that were lined up. 

They strike me, for some reason, all lined up like that.  Mostly because…  all lined up like that they are only days on a calendar–and most of them, calendars that we are entirely done with.

But they weren’t that for me.  They never were.  Those number and month alignments represented things that were happening to me.  Big things.    College.  Marriage.  Beginnings of Journeys.  Birth.  Death. 

Even listing those words gives no sense of what all of those things that began or ended on those dates really did to me….  the changes that happened within me….  the way my world, my mind, my spirit, my character was altered dramatically.  These dates are hallmarks in my ‘luminous interlude.’  They’re little remembrance rocks set down along the path of my life to mark these brief moments of being made. 

I can remember giving birth to Little Miss in a room that didn’t have a window.  I figured there was a practical reason that it didn’t….  for privacy and what not.  But I really wanted to look outside, and still somehow feel connected to what was happening.  Inside my little room the miracle of life was happening.  My life was being re-formed.  Her life outside the womb was beginning.  I was becoming a new person–a mother!   She was entering the world….  I mean–entering the world! 

But I kept thinking (in some subconscious way outside of trying to live through the contractions and pushing and finally laying my eyes on her)….  Kids are at school today.  Guys (and gals) are working in Husband’s shop.  News events are happening.  Things are moving and happening just like normal except in this little room where the world has stopped and has closed in around the happening of Little Miss’s entrance into the world.

It was the same sort of feeling the day that Mom died, and the days around it.  Those last few days, my world stopped.  There was nothing but being with my mother.  Holding her hand.  Trying to make her comfortable.  Doing anything I could to take care of her.

And then she was gone….  And people didn’t just know it.  I had to tell them.  Dad had to tell them.  My world stopped.  My world as I knew it ended.  And it began again.  World with Mom.  World without Mom.  All in one moment.  All in one day.  But no one else’s really did….  Outside that little room in our house everything looked pretty much the same.  Andy and Carolyn and I went to a park later in the day after the horror of the morning, because I had an intense desire to do something life related.  We walked by people and they couldn’t just look at me and see that the worst thing that had ever happened in my life had happened that morning at 5:35.  And they walked on.  And I walked on. 

I have these dates all stacked up that represent things like that.  Events that made me Val. 

And the thing that gets me, when I’m looking at those dates is that everyone else has their own stack….  and with some exceptions for the people in my life–on their days *I* just went on.  *I* was oblivious.

Before our training session began a woman told a joke.  One of her husband’s jokes.  While doing so, she smiled the kind of smile I’ve become familiar with and explained that her husband’s birthday had been yesterday–her husband who passed away–and she’d gone out to dinner in celebration of him, and she and others who cared about her and him told the stories that he used to tell.  Yesterday was one of her days.

I don’t know what it is that has me sitting and revering this whole idea of dates.  Except that if I can go through one of my days with most of the world not even knowing it….  then that means that at any moment, any person around me could be in the midst of one of theirs–either THE day, or the anniversary of it.

And that makes me remember that people are more than their surface, just like days are more than blocks on a calendar. 

And somehow…  it seems there is holiness in that.

So….   what are your days? 


4 thoughts on “Hallmarks of the Luminous Interlude

  1. You just dragged something to the surface I had forgotten about. The day I flew home to be with my family for my brothers’ unexpected return to his real home…My feet had not touched the ground for over 24 hours and I was on a plane sitting very straight ( i have noticed when hard things happen to me, my posture becomes almost perfect, to be still as possible is a comfort) x-stiching a picture of a little girl holding a baby duck. The plane started to fill up with at least 30 spring breakers going home after a trip to the bahamas. All the fun and banter and sunburns and well life… I sat there realizing they had no idea I was going home to bury my brother…it was the oddest feeling… I did not cry.. just felt like i was in another dimension… and in a very very odd way… It was comforting to be on that plane with all that life… for just a few hours I was just suspended in time…

    I am going to write down my dates… I have been thinking alot lately about a “Richism”.. You need to be at peace with where and who you have come from, to start to know who you are and where you are going… well actually I am not sure that is exactly what he said but it is the way in interpreted it..lol

    Thank you for challenging me to grow… to be the best me God has made me to be..

    Love ya

  2. “And they walked on. And I walked on. ”
    … Wow, Val… That really struck me. This whole post. Thank you for writing it.

    I’ve often sat in my car in the morning, listening to my iPod, drinking my coffee, and I’ll look at the person stuck in traffic next to me and wonder what’s going on in their lives. These strangers who I pass every day–they have goals, hopes, fears, loves, losses… and I’m not even aware of it. I only rarely am cognizant of the possibility at all.

    You expressed all of this so eloquently… I don’t really have words to respond to it. But I’m thinking about it. And when I’m busy swearing at the person who cuts me off in traffic, I’ll wonder if it’s one of his/her dates.

  3. Moments like the ones you mention, sometimes send me, not only looking horizontally at those who share the same time and place as I do, but also back in time. For a moment, I can imagine that those who’ve already left us, maybe even for centuries already, also had real emotional events in their lives that were every bit as impacting as ours. Then, people we’ve only heard of, either through our parents talking about ancestors we’ve never met or through history books, take on more dimensions. And for the briefest moment, there is a sense of being part of something much larger than we usually perceive.

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