Not far from my parents’ house, there is a bench overlooking the river. I have passed by it for a lifetime, taking little notice.
Until, on a whim, I stop and sit. The green willows shudder into a moving painting, there is the sky, a duck laughs loudly at something, somewhere.
I turn around and read the plaque, like one that is on so many benches.
“A Place in the Universe, At a Moment in Time. L and L Read.”
And this is the view. It was maybe a space of pause for a couple during evening walks, or perhaps it was the favorite spot of someone who died, or maybe one day something big happened here, or not.
But – looking at the view – I knew it to be true.
A place in the universe, at a moment in time. That is the only thing that is real. It connects us all, beautifully and effortlessly.
A place in the universe
At a moment in time
At half time, during a college football game, a jewelry store sponsored a competition for a free ring. Two couples competed. The man would run to the woman with a large cardboard ring around his waist. When he approached his mate, he was supposed to take off the ring, put it around her, and don another round cardboard ring around himself. Then they would run to the finish line together in their large cardboard rings.
One man booked it across the field. When he reached his partner, he flung the ring off him. It flew away and she had to run to catch it and put it on. He took off without her. When he realized she was not by his side, he reached out and pulled her to him. Her ring fell off, but they kept running, his eye hard on the finish line.
The other couple was slower. They stayed together, helped each other, and ran across the finish line, second, but both complete.
The couple that came in second won the actual ring, because they both crossed the finish line wearing the cardboard representations. The man that wanted to get there first, who wanted a specific result so badly that he sacrificed the experience, did not get what he wanted so desperately.
What a lesson in relationships for me:
It’s not about speed or reaching an outcome quickly.
It’s about slowing down, being mindful, and taking care of each other. It’s about enjoying the run – together.