Sometimes I wish I could go back in time. And when I wish it, it’s not to go back to my wedding day or the day my children were born (uh, no. Once was enough for that). I don’t care to see some amazing day in history really, and I haven’t really considered going back to try and stop something unpleasant from happening. When I get the urge, it is to go back in time to some ordinary Tuesday I do not even remember, some random day in sixth grade, maybe. I got to marry the boy I liked that year, and I wish sometimes that I could go back and watch us be kids together. I wish I could see again every single time we spoke. I remember the defining moments in our relationship, but there must be so many other conversations I don’t remember at all.
I wish I could go back to when the boys were little and watch them play in the yard with blankets tied around their necks as capes. I would definitely go back to the day Drew and I were home alone – John had just started school. And I was trying to help Drew succeed at a level of Shrek the video game, and neither of us could do it, and Drew said, “I wish John was here. John can do anything.” I could rewind that moment again and again and never tire of it.
There is a movie about this concept. It’s called About Time, and it’s about how very ordinary life is and how very extraordinary every moment is, and how magical it would be to see each moment twice and really be able to experience each one, objectively, without rushing, full of awe. The second time I watched the movie, I had just read the most beautiful quote that went beautifully with it. The words were spoken by an old rabbi to his friend:
Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.
–Quoted from The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning
What do you want from life? Is it possible that we already have it, not in spite of ordinary days but smack dab in the middle of them? I believe it. I believe it because like the old rabbi, it’s pretty much all I want – to be inspired, to see, to touch and experience wonder. And over and over, I have.
The guy in the movie (and this is a bit of a spoiler) learns to see the wonder in the moment without needing to go to the moment twice. He learns to see it the first time. It’s a pretty beautiful thing to get, especially for the rest of us, since once is all that we have.