If time could talk

time

On tonight’s agenda: family dinner. My brother’s long-time girlfriend will pick up pizzas from Anthony’s, one large brushchetta and one large pepperoni. He texted in the group family chat, Does this work for everyone?, as if the guy at Anthony’s doesn’t know our name and our order and my womanly status by heart, every time giving me an Italian pizza man wink that leaves me as squeamish as too many pools-of-grease slices.

Turns out, Anthony’s redesigned their pizza boxes to a sleek modern design. I’m wrestling to accept the change.

We have assigned seats at family dinner. The TV in the kitchen blares, while the TV in the family room blares, and I always grab the remote to turn it off and complain that I can’t even hear myself think. Every time, the WORLD’S BIGGEST golf tournament (are they called tournaments?) or the WORLD’S BIGGEST football game must be blaring from the echoing TVs at exactly the time that we eat. It will drive a quiet writer mad, just as the debates over how to make America great again will drive 99.9% of the world’s population right back into a state of squeamish.

Dinner is loud and chaotic; sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry and sometimes we yell. Someone comes late or leaves early because of a work meeting or a bible study or a doctor’s appointment. (Or I’m late because I’m writing this, and I heard, “Quick! Brush off your crumbs!” as I came through the door and they offered me a cold slice.) Cats usually puke up grassballs, and broken TVS mysteriously increase in volume every second in true Matilda style, and Dad might join late if he’s mowing the grass or talking to a neighbor about his golf game.

But twenty years ago, even six years ago, our family dinners sounded like a Wendy’s drive-through on our escape route or lots of doors slamming.

I cringe when people act like life is just a good verse stitched on a pillow, expecting a cross-stitch to redecorate old rooms and redecorate broken hearts. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” ranks high among these cringe-worthy verses infesting homes around the world today with the widespread epidemic of misuse.

If time could talk, he would tell you that digging deep, planting roots with your family is messier than a blind old woman trying to pour heavy bags of potting soil into tiny pots for her new vegetable garden. He would tell you that, on most days, tearing down old habits feels like banging your head on the steering wheel on the gridlocked beltway. He would tell you that rebuilding is equal parts sucky to beautiful, and a lot of days you’ll want to give up and throw away the family he gave you with the stained greasy pizza boxes.

He would tell you that you should learn to hold on tighter than you ever thought you could, tighter than you ever thought was possible, because sometimes time rebuilds dinner tables. And sometimes dinner tables stay broken. Or, they show up in different shapes and sizes and materials than your original design.

And yet, if time could talk, he would tell you that there really is a time to weep and a time to laugh, and this world will stop spinning the moment we pretend we can have one without the other.

I once had a tea bag tell me that “Patience Pays,” and I hated it so much that I almost refused to drink the stress-relieving tea that claims to relieve tension and help me stay calm. I spit my distaste to my friend, and she laughed because she thought that I would end up writing a book one day about the P word.

She might be right. Or she might be wrong. Only time will tell.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…

a time to plant and a time to uproot…

a time to tear down and a time to build…

a time to weep and a time to laugh…

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

a time to tear and a time to mend…

a time to be silent and a time to speak…

He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11

6 thoughts on “If time could talk

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