We live in an age where information gets distributed instantly. Someone dies and the internet posts, “Only 5 minutes ago so-and-so passed away.” Our sense of the world has changed as if the world has become one large neighborhood and we expect to know what is going on everywhere as it is happening!
Which is why my place in time came unglued when I received a letter from an old friend in which I read the following line, “Just found out that Joe died two weeks ago.” Two weeks ago?! For those two weeks life had been just ordinary for me, filled with ordinary duties, meals to make, errands to run, just two more normal weeks. And all that time Joe was already in eternity. How could my life have gone on with its normalcy when all chance to talk with Joe ever again was over? How could a piece of paper be the exact dividing line between “before” and “after”?
Every so often in our life there is a precise moment which we forever after know to be when “before” ended and “after” began. June 21st, 2004 on my first trip to Hawaii was just such a moment. I can even name the area where this happened. We landed, exited the landing terminal and I stepped into the open-air causeway leading to the Baggage Area. Halfway along that causeway “after” began. I suddenly stopped walking. I closed my eyes. The softly blowing tradewinds moving through the passageway were sensuous. The air carried the scent of flowers. And the crystal clear thought came to me: “This is where I want to be.”
This forever-after moment was that clear-cut, that precise. Until that moment I had not thought of the life that I was currently living as “before”. Since that moment I have been acutely aware of my current life as being “after.” I feel as if I have been graced with a gift that I never could have been able to purchase or could have even known that I desired with such intensity. I am grateful beyond what “grateful” can describe!