Fearing Infinity

There was that one day, nestled between all the rest, when the sun lasted long enough to get everything done, and the boys acted like little boys again, taking the canoe way across the lake to spot the fish beds, and spy on the frogs. imageThat was the day we laughed at Charlie, or his nemesis, when he thought he could hide from us by stealthily walking through the weeds — but we could see him with the binoculars. That was the day, when I had to look two, no three times, to make sure that was our neighbor, who never steps a toe in the lake, wearing her swimsuit and take out the kayak for a water cruise. There she was, sailing off across the water… I was happy enough watching her adventure that I didn’t need one of my own.

imageThe mosquitos didn’t swarm, there was just enough corn on the cob, and we didn’t have to think about leftovers. There was nothing left to fuss with.

What was so special about that day, was that the people were living off their own energy; on full power, and no one needed anything from anyone. Like a flower sending out roots to gather all the water it needs from all the available sources. This is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi must have meant by Flow.

imageWhen I was little, and I couldn’t go to sleep, I used to think about what the preacher said in the pulpit on Sunday, about heaven. He said it was forever. Never ending. And that terrified me. Heaven may have been the greatest place you can imagine – but I couldn’t imagine what “infinite” was. What we don’t understand, we fear. But, after life brings heartbreak, and sometimes exhaustion — we begin to soften, and yes, we’ll take infinity if it means a world without suffering.

And now my little boy has the same fear. That fear of what is beautiful and painless — but has no end. This fear makes no sense — but it there. ¬†I remember when he mentioned it, I felt an opening — “you too?,” because I have never ever met someone with that same fear. And then I marveled that he could articulate what I couldn’t at that age. I couldn’t explain it then, or now (even though I sort of remember it), only to say that forever is just an overwhelming, inconceivable place. It seems lonely; monotonous — although that’s not it. Maybe it’s a fear of maintenance — like how can things go on like that forever, without breaking down? And then, what will we do if we’re not equipped to handle problems?

While oh, so difficult to describe, I wonder if that day is what heaven and infinity will be like. Just a bunch of us creating our own collective infinite energy, as a source, by doing exactly what we need to do to keep us happy, which will simultaneously keeping the world spinning.

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