On my way to a meet a friend for coffee in downtown Littleton yesterday morning light crept over the eastern horizon, refracting through scant moisture in the air, turning the sky gray, then purple, then pink, then finally Colorado blue, giving birth to a day that some say will be remembered for its numerical uniqueness, 12.12.12. On 12.12.12 as I drive, I realize much more of passing significance might happen this day. That this will be a day filled with moments: people, sights, sounds, emotions, hopes, disappointments, surprises, and flavors I will not experience in just this way ever again. Here, in honor of 12.12.12 are 12 of them.
- Driving east I see the street lights, red and green (Christmas colors), a flash of yellow, glow as if they too know what time of year it is. I feel a strange peace. These traffic lights, awash in the light of a new day, will not appear this soft, this festive five minutes from now. Can there be beauty even in things we mere humans create? It seems so.
- I’m surrounded by silence pregnant with . . . Don’t fill it, you’ll kill it, I warn. So, I let it sit, weigh on me, entice me with its promise, realizing what I hear or don’t hear won’t be spoken again.
- The parking lot is full. On another day, in a more narcissistic mood, a parking lot full of cars already at 6:30am. would have left me impatient, worried about being late. Instead I stroll a street I’ve never walked and commiserate with those already off to work and notice the contrast between new and old buildings like walking in and out of shadows from the past coloring the future.
- The smell of coffee and history mixes inside Littleton Train Depot, now called Romancing the Bean. This place ended its service as a railroad depot on December 31, 1981 long before anyone dreamed up trendy, flavored coffees. But, as with so many things thought dead, the depot has sprung to new life and purpose.
- My friend and I drink coffee and share pieces of a cinnamon roll. I’ve not eaten a cinnamon roll in a year and won’t again for another year. It’s sweet. Gummy. One bite is enough. Suddenly we’re talking of how, if we are living in God, we, like God, are living in the past and present. We don’t simply forget the past. It is still here being healed and transformed in us.
- As I leave Romancing the Bean, I see something I haven’t seen in a long time. A copy of the Rocky Mountain News. The last from February 27, 2009. I grew up reading the Rocky every afternoon, mainly the comics and sports. Then later real news. I don’t read any newspaper any more. Ironic how on a day recognized for something that will never happen again, there sat a voice now silent.
- I retrace my steps back to my truck but all has changed. It’s busier, the light harsher. I have to hurry. I’m beginning to forget to hold on to these moments. My next meeting is not close by.
- I’m late, self conscious, thinking of my apology. Living already in the future.
- As I enter, the laughter of my friends and colleagues fills what would be, without them there, a sterile meeting-room environment. Forgettable, meaningless. I’m convinced there will not be committee meetings in heaven. But the people who call meetings–even this sin forgivable–will be. As I walk out the door, I feel glad to be among them today.
- I make it to the food bank barely on time. The look on a young mother’s face gathering food is furtive. She wears a practical and thankful and firm and full-of-business mask. But her eyes let me in, ask me to see her for who she is and say, “I’m more than this.” Then she turns away.
- Finally at home, later, after losing too many moments I meant to hold on to, writing this, I hear, “Yohoo.” The cheerful inflection in the red-head’s voice as she trails in the door after wrangling five-year olds all day brings me back to attention. We talk; we eat. The day of uniqueness almost over. Have I seen anything?
- The sky is dark indigo. There are stars up there, somewhere. Not as many as when I would lie in my back yard in summer and try to invent my own constellations. But those moments are past. Now there’s too much ground light and my eyes are older. And I’m busy. But also I ask, which stars are dead already and only shimmering in death, moments long past that I am only now noticing?
Mundane day, I know. So 12.12.12, amounting to a mere 1,440 seconds, a day like millions of others before, a day containing a myriad of events, people, and impressions that will never happen just this way again, flicked by. I know I missed something. But I put up a net and caught a few moments of passing significance. And tomorrow maybe I’ll catch more.
What did you see?
13 thoughts on “Was 12.12.12 Really Worth Noticing?”
On 12/12/12…at 5:05AM, on the way to the treadmill and my 4 mile/one hour walk, I saw 3 planets and a small waning moon(just a fuzzy sliver sitting on top of Aurora). Saturn, Venus and Mercury were visible in the east. Obviously did not pack my telescope, but with binoculars could see Mercury, and the two other planets with the naked eye; none of Saturn’s rings though. I also read in the NYTimes that people were flocking to wedding sites in Las Vegas to get married on once/once/once…nice ring to the Spanish word for 12!
I love the liturgy of your day, John. Thanks.
Our ninth grandchild was born yesterday, 12/12/12 at 12:40, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Lucia Natalia Tortola McMarlin. So, at least for our family it is certainly worth noticing!
Congrats Laurel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was just thinking about you guys this morning.
Congratulations, Laurel. A grandchild makes any day unique and significant.
I was also up and out early (unusual), with many possibilities on the day’s “to-do” front burner,… After intercepting my first weekday Greek Orthodox liturgy in honor of a 4th century saint — (St Spirydon, a local stand-out, unusually kind, shepherd whom the people absolutely insisted on having for their next Bishop, so much so that he was ordained a Priest and Bishop all in one day!), I learned at this service that, as we say we are “in the world but not of it”, the Greeks have said (intending the same Biblical reference), that he was “in the world but also ABOVE it”,… and many miracles of kindness and supply are attributed to him,…
What else to do after that, but have lunch at the local authentic Greek deli? — a mom & pop affair that I happily patronize when on that side of town,… 4 hours, 2 Greek coffees, some yummy food & one more knitted baby blanket square later, I decided to make my way home at sunset (a ruby pinkish one), going all the way through town, completely by-passing all the other business to-do ops on my day’s list,… a brief respite and mail check, then back out to the real Our Lady of Guadalupe day (always December 12th) evening Spanish Mass,… a powerful celebration followed by a small heart-warming party, where I down a hot chili tamale followed by a sweet tamale with pineapple and raisins in the mix, and a wonderful creamy warm cinnamon flavored drink,… not only were the senses made glad — but so also were my heart and spirit (if there is any difference in those!),…
This year my participation in the extremely popular Mexican/Latino tradition yields a special fruit,… I realize that the “revelation” of the Joy connected to Our Lady of Guadalupe is an identification (of sorts) with the joy of the heart of the Mother of God,… It in no way supersedes the importance or significance of God the Father or Jesus, God the Son, but actually magnifies them, as if seen through an especially close (and “privileged”) spiritual relationship,… “spiritual binoculars” or “rose-colored glasses”, if you will,… I rejoice,… I am at piece about it and one with it at the same time,…
It was an unexpected “holy day” for me,… in fact, I wasn’t even seeking it, and had to wrestle a bit with letting the planned business end of things “go by the wayside”,… but it was a sacrifice I was finally glad to have made,…
Some things we “will always have with us”,… & some things are just more special,… blessed are we when we find them and make room for them,… we are indeed “in the world but also above it”,…
btw,… 1,440 seconds = (12x12x10) seconds in the day of 12-12-12,… special or not (b/c of repeated numbers), we still have to move on!,… hello, 12-13-12!,… “This is the day that the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)
edit: St Spyridon,… a very popular name saint also among the Greeks,… Spiros being very common among them,…
“Holy day” indeed! Glad God gave it to you. Is this what the Catholics mean by the sacramental use of the word ordinary?
Catholics (especially with a prevalent historical ethnicity) are pretty “cool” (in the groovy sense) about so-called ordinary things,… it’s pretty hard for me to describe, but I like the experience,… things are kind of ratcheted up a notch in an ability to spiritually enjoy/savor/appreciate them,… they are ennobled for the sake of being God’s creation (“fruit of the vine”) and the wonder of their beauty and essence,… in effect ordinary things are not really all that ordinary or reprehensible,… it takes the edge off of “dull” and other negative and pejorative connotations that are sometimes applied ~~ (and where would THAT impulse be coming from anyway???)
But when they refer to “ordinary time” in the liturgical sense, it would be referencing the Church “seasons” that are not Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost, Holy Trinity, & Body & Blood, & other special Days and times in the church liturgical calendar year,… and, yes, intrinsically “ordinary” is no longer just ordinary when sacramental-ized or blessed by God,…
There have been studies done with electron microscopes and such, that actually show a demonstrable difference in they way atoms, electrons, etc, respond to a blessing being put on a substance,… pretty powerful stuff, actually!,… (that WOULD be our God!),… (-:
To be honest, — and something that is more often spoken of as being a common failing in the Catholic Church, — there are traditional “issues” that have a negative side and influence, that I feel are more of a problem of psychological habit and custom, and that go unquestioned/unchallenged, when they could be understood more clearly in the light of a better understanding and application of the Word of God taken seriously in a personal sense,… Some of these influences may also have long-standing ethnic roots of habit,… one example that comes to mind is mixing up Celtic with Christian influences, but they certainly are not “one and the same”, although they have grown up alongside one another through centuries of localized customs,… Christ has come to set us free from spiritual bondage, negativity in many forms, and darkness, superstition, magic, etc,… His joy is real and solid, and not of a fanciful entertainment quality,…
Mark 7:6-13 (edited)
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men … ”
9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. … 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
********** **************** *************** *************** *************
Colossians 2:4-10 (edited)
4 “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. …
8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
************** *************** ************** ************** ***************
It is all too easy to mix up our “inherited”/conditioned human cultural and psychological “traditions” and habits with what we perceive to be Christianity, or Christian “spirituality”,…
The Ten Commandments are referred to as God’s Laws,… to the flesh they may appear to be restrictive Laws, perhaps, but to the Spirit they are simply the expression of how Life in the Spirit expresses itself/how it works/how it flows,…
Just as we refer to the “laws and principles” that scientists and mathematicians discover underlying the intrinsic created “order of the universe”, these so-called “laws” are simply a description of how these things grow and flow naturally, in sync with their created and intended design,… and this order is truly amazing to behold!
Love works as love works, and its nature is open forthright, faithful and true,… the negative seeds of hatred, distrust, criticism, doubt, envy, back-biting and suspicion enter in humanly from a spiritually different realm and source, to confuse, counteract and perplex the living (and discernment) issues,…
It is always necessary, in spiritual things, to be willing to re-evaluate the customs and mind-sets that we have grown up with, taking them “for granted” (as being Christian, or otherwise),… “Of course, this is the way things are!”,… very often we are dragging along and accommodating serious “excess baggage” (spiritually and psychologically), when God has shown us in His Word and by His Spirit, that many of our common habits, thoughts and impulses have no place in a Christian life,… the very least we can do is face these things honestly, and ask God to help us “weed out (what we take to be) our spiritual gardens”,…
very often the first step to getting rid of a chronic (mental) weed — or “misunderstanding” — is simply to recognize it as such,… to see through its camouflage of somehow “being legit”, and belonging there,… we have all “inherited” many mixed-up human, cultural and religious “issues and traditions”, that we would do well to re-examine and sort out in the “Light of Christ”,… not “straining the gnats” but identifying the “essential gold”,…
Fascinatingly good stuff! May we see with the ‘eyes’ God has given us the gifts in each day.
Beautiful. I have been thinking about you a lot lately, my friend, as I’ve been trying to get in better touch with my spirituality. I still don’t think I necessarily subscribe to an organized religion, but I have been feeling God EVERYWHERE. I knew this would make you happy. 🙂