(In The Life Of The Church)
Time Travel & Dreambooks
Last week three different people texted me telling me that I needed to see the film Arrival. I don’t get to the theater much. Really, I don’t get anywhere much anymore. That’s what four kids and reduced sleep will get you. Even if my wife and I find the time and money to do something, we forfeit the opportunity out of sheer exhaustion.
BUT, three is a lot. Three unsolicited texts from voices I trust. So I went and I was not disappointed. Still, there is criticism to be had. To say that a timeline was manipulated would be overstated, but (spoiler alert) Amy Adams develops an ability to prognosticate. After briefly losing myself in fantasies of sports betting (thanks Biff), I recovered only to discover my constant objection to this kind of a thing. Amy Adams foretells that several moments from the future are coming and (1) does not choose to change them(???) which, perhaps, the movie was simply offering a metaphysic in which that wasn’t possible, but (2) what’s more baffling, she seems to demonstrate the kind of ambiguity and surprise that would normally accompany knowing something for the first time when she experiences what she already knows.
I’ve come to accept two truths when viewing movies that play with time travel. First, theoretical physics can now prove something like this is true, namely that time is relative. Second, even knowing that, conceptualizing that experience and the effects of that movement is extremely difficult for our minds which have only ever known linear movement within four dimensions of space and time.
So while I watched the movie, I wondered about the precision of all occurrences. Let me personalize the concept: Sometimes when I think about past mistakes, I play with the idea that I would take them back given the opportunity. But now, I find that any time I enter into such mental experiments, I reject the notion of the possibility if said event occurred before the birth of any of my children. My rationale is that if something like the butterfly effect is true, even within the successive choices made in my own life, I run the risk of jeopardizing their conception date. Odd, I know, but nonetheless rational. This has made me realize that one of the roles of love in our lives is to fix in time and space with deep meaning.
We are on verge of advent. It’s a season chiefly about waiting. Like Israel waited, we are currently waiting for Jesus to come (again). Time slows. Time quickens. Some of us can’t get enough time, for others it stands still. What if you could manipulate the events that comprise your waiting? Improve them? Would you?
I have a tradition with my children. It usually rolls around sometime between July and October. I make one of my few annual trips to the Highway 6 mall and snag a Dreambook from the Hallmark store. The Dreambook, if you don’t know, is the genius piece of marketing brochure that brings you this year's latest ornament collection. My children and I flip through the 60 or so pages, selecting our favorite ornament from each page. We all put our initial by our favorite ornament and drink a glass of eggnog from my Clark Griswold Moose Mugs. It’s glorious.
I hit a snag in my tradition this year. I got to Hallmark too late. In September, I finally stopped by to ask for a Dreambook only to be told that they were all out and that they did not know if they would get any more. They offered to put my name on a waiting list and call me if any more came. I’ve worked retail. I know this is a small consolation, but I took them up on their offer. By October I hadn’t heard anything, so I took another trip to the mall and go the same result. No phone call and no Dreambook. November rolled around, and I left for my cruise. When I got back, I reasoned that my phone had been off the grid for a week and so it was possible that I had missed the magic call. That hope proved helpful. I stopped by again last week, and they had gotten more Dreambooks.
So, on Thursday night last week I sat down on the couch with my four kids and my mom, who happened to be in town. She was new to the party, and she was enthusiastically welcomed. You may not know this about me, but I love Christmas more than all of you…combined. I learned my passion from my mother. Though our home was never decorated extravagantly, it was filled with intention: the music, the smells and even the unorthodox and unthemed arrangement of ornaments on our tree all oozed something personal and authentic. My mom taught me how to celebrate seasons of life.
After we had finished and put the kids to bed, my mom remarked several times how much she enjoyed joining our tradition. It felt good to give her back some of the meaning that she has given me my entire life. It felt good to provide a space that she wanted to enter.
I’m keeping a close watch on these seasons. They are the first without my father. That reality and that experience with my mom sent me reflecting on the botched timeline of the Dreambook tradition. Had Hallmark had my book when I wanted it, I would have missed that moment with my mom. Perhaps that experience was a small thing and certainly not something that I’m willing to speculate about the role of divine providence within, but I can now see that if I could go back and change when I had gotten the Dreambook with either a time machine or foreknowledge, I would choose to do neither.
The waiting I did proved to produce the largest of experience of joy within me. The work we do in Advent is similar. The waiting is hard, but in the end, we trust that it is good and right. That takes faith. I hope you find it this season.
all space and mic space are available for you to display your talent at UBC in the backside on Friday December 2nd, 2016. If you've never been think about that hacky sack scene from She's All That, only not really. The extravaganza begins at 6:00 PM CST. If you have any questions please contact email@example.com.
Parents, our annual advent workshop will be after church this Sunday. If you have not already been contacted about participating and would like to do so, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Work is Worship
Greeters: Rachael, Carson, Christian
Coffee Makers: no coffee maker
Mug Cleaners: no mug cleaner
Money Counter: Justin Pond
- Sunday Sermon: Matthew 24:36-44 "Christmas Stories Part 1: Too Early"
- Order of Phoenix Dallas Event: Dec. 3
- Study Hall: Dec 7th
- The Middle Ages Christmas Party Dec. 17
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