Wednesday, July 02, 2003

There's something very daunting about signing your own will. It's a certificate of the infinite; a formal admission to the Universe that you will be departing. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I formally made the appointment for the movers to come to the house in Austin, but on a dread scale. To that bristling feeling is added the irrational fear that you're jinxing yourself by admitting that it will all come to an end someday. I try to calm myself by thinking of Murphy's Law: if you're a fatalist, you're sure that the best way to forestall disaster is to insure against it.

It was a very technical ceremony for me. (Less so for Shannon, who felt very concerned for my well-being if she should die untimely.) It felt like every other legal document I've signed in the last few months; carefully reviewed and duly executed with all necessary formality. Yet I kept thinking of Jonah in the back of my mind. It's strange to sign a will with your six-month old son next to you. All of a sudden, his newness and dependence remind you of all the transient aspects of this life. You were that small once; you are now a 31-year-old lawyer and father; and someday you will be gone and all that will be left are that baby's memories and this hollow document.

Now I keep thinking about something that I heard recently (it was said by Ravi Zacharias, but he was quoting someone). The speaker was noting how peculiar is the human habit of commenting on the passage of time: "You're getting so old!" "It's been so long!" "Where did the time go?" Time is a constant sensation, like air, so it should hardly deserve so much comment. It would be equally odd for a fish to constantly comment on the existence of water -- unless, of course, the fish was meant for dry land. In that sense, humanity's inane commentary reflects the fact that we were meant for eternity, but the infinite within us is constantly being chafed by the rough passage of time.

Some people that lose a limb say that they feel phantom sensations from that limb for the rest of their life; I wonder if Eternity is the same way. When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, what will it feel like to know there are no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun? Will we even remember what it was like to live in a temporal world, and be able to compare that with infinity? And if we do feel something, what if that was the point of our time on earth? What if one of the distinguishing characteristics of humanity (as opposed to the angels) was that we will experience eternity as a sensation like weightlessness? Or maybe it's a never-ending "second wind" -- that feeling that kicks in when your body shifts from burning blood sugar to fat, and you begin to feel like you've released a great weight that was holding you back?

I've felt that sensation, and there is no other sensation on earth like it.

 5:45 PM

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