Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Magic Moment

Soundtrack for this post: Start Today Tomorrow – Youth Group

This morning after a very brief cleaning rampage (very brief) I settled in my room and flipped on my brilliant cable. I landed on Before Sunrise, that movie from 1995 with Ethan Hawk. Those were the days when his greasy hair was cool and hot. Now I just want him to take a shower.

I stuck with the movie though; it reminded me of perfect moments. Of brief but perfect moments. If you haven’t seen the movie it’s a dialogue driven film about two people that meet on a train ride and end up spending the whole night walking and talking in Vienna. It’s like a relationship encapsulated in one night.

I had a moment like that once myself. I was spending the Fourth of July weekend in Washington D.C like a real red and white American. That night was one perfect, short moment.

It started at the base of the Lincoln Monument at the edge of the reflecting pool. Looking over the Washington Monument and watching the fireworks explode across the sky. It was perfect. The patriotic music in the background, and the insane crowds were a little much. Other than that, it was brilliant. After the excitement was over I walked with my old friend from Portland and my new friend from Germany (who I must say was a little shocked by our patriotic display) thru the emptying streets of D.C. We made our way to the train station and found ourselves at a row of bars in the Foggy Bottom district. I am a fan of any district called Foggy Bottom.

We floated from bar to bar. My friends ready to leave. We were flying out the next morning.

The last bar we went to I met someone. Inconspicuous, I don’t even remember his face. We talked immediately of his return to the states from Iraq. He said arriving in D.C during the forth of July was a shock to him, from Iraq. It went from “hi” to deep within minutes. I left my friends to their cab and my brand new military friend took a walk at 1am. (This didn’t go over so well, mind you)

We walked thru monuments and past historic buildings, past hotels and drunken people cheering at the night and talked about life and the past and the future. We spoke of our dreams and who we wanted to become. Of politics and religion. There was no small talk.

We sat on a park bench. I held my knees to my chest as he spoke of the children in Iraq that he befriended and I cried. It was like magic. Like meeting someone for the first time, but they instantly understood everything about you. Connection.

Eventually the sun rose over the capital and he put me in a cab. We were both flying out in just a few hours.

I rode in silence to my hostel. My friend was still sleeping. I lay in my bunk at the hostel putting off packing up and waking my friend. I knew that it would end the magic. When I finally decided to start the day, it did. My friend was upset at me; we ended up going to the wrong airport and missed our flight – stuck there for another 12 hours. The moment was lost to real life.

I never talked to that stranger again, we exchanged a few emails. A year later while in D.C, I thought of him again. I wrote him from my hotel and he told me about being engaged and how he finally felt like he found a home. It was just a perfect moment.

Today, I thought of that story – then hearing a couple friends talk about relationships coming to a end, and others talk about relationships going to “the next level” or starting, the story echoed in my mind.

A reminder that something’s are meant to be there for just a season, just a moment to remind us that there is magic still out there – it still exists. However, that there is a magic or a connection that isn’t for just a moment – that reverberates – and lasts. That lasting connection or magic is what starts families and friendships that live forever.

I finally accept the fact that even the short lived moment like a one first date that brings chills and causes unending smiles – but never produces a 2nd date is ok too. More than ok, it is moments like these that make up a life well lived. Sometimes it takes moment’s like these to lead to the one that lasts forever.


BonikaStJames said...

Lovely lovely.

So true. Perfect moments are not repeatable or plannable... they just happen. I've had but a few and I cherish them all.

Thank you for sharing... the whole picture.

MJAPA said...

Just lovely, and I could not agree more with the last two paragraphs. So very true.

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