Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Hours - Dedicated to My Readers


Has is ever occurred to you that everything is just a question of time? When you’re waiting or anticipating for that moment that your heart desires, time is personified and becomes either a friend or a foe that stands between you and that moment. Unpredictable and without warning, time waits for no one and has a hand in everybody’s lives. Recently, I’ve once again felt like a puppet whose strings are pulled by fate, dancing to the tune of time and defined by the passing hours.
Have you ever timed your day? Starting with that quiet time in the morning when all is still and the day seems new? Your head is neither full nor empty and you have the ability to create whatever mood you wish to wear for the day. The tick tocking of your alarm clock speeds up time and suddenly it seems you don’t have enough of it. So much to do, so little time to do it in, it feels like time runs away with you and your only wish is for it to stop so that you can catch up.
It’s when you finally lose yourself in haste that time decides to stop, allowing you to hear yourself breathe and feel the beat of your heart. Sometimes it happens at the bus stop when I get the chance to look around me and connect to the strange faces. Most of the times, it’s just before I go to bed and say my prayers. It is that hour when I question my existence.

What do you do when you’re not thinking? When you’re not planning for something and getting ready for somewhere? What do you say to time when it’s the only company standing beside you?

In the hours that kept me with time, I pondered about the moments gone by and remembered a book by Tennessee Williams called the Glass Menagerie. Having to study it for my 10th Grade English Literature paper there was a passage that he wrote that has forever been engraved in the back of my mind: We are all sentenced to solitary confinement in our own skins for life.
In the book that could never and will never be erased from my memory, Williams introduces us to four Characters: Amanda Wingfield, a dreamer who thinks if she can only marry her daughter than her life would finally fall into place. Tom Wingfield is the main character and the mirror of the author, a brother who feels trapped by the world and feels responsible for the life of his crippled sister. Laura is the shy sister who never learnt to come out her shell, who lives in a world of glass fantasies represented by her glass menagerie of animals. Her world breaks the day Jim O’Conner comes to call, he is Tom’s colleague and Laura’s secret crush from high school and although he is Mr. Perfect, he shatters all of their dreams by kissing Laura and then telling her that he likes her but already has a fiancé. What I most loved about this book, is the way I could see myself in all four Characters. As Amanda, I too have believed that if I can only get that one desire, everything else becomes easy. I too am guilty of breaking someone’s fantasy of love as Jim broke Laura’s and I’ve felt the crushing pain of rejection and of my world breaking with shattered dreams. Then there is the guilt, the frustration and incompetence that Tom feels towards the people he loves. On one shoulder weighs my responsibility to others whilst on the other shoulder weighs my responsibility to my own life.

Time is the longest distance between two places.

In Michael Cunningham’s book “The Hours”, he shows how our time becomes somebody else’s time too. How what we do defines the moments in other people’s lives and how vulnerable we truly are to destiny and fate. Cunningham is perhaps the first author to steal the strength of time when he defined the hours:
“We throw parties; we abandon our families to live alone; we struggle to write books (and columns) that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, and our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do and then we sleep – it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re fortunate, by time itself. Then there’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and even they perhaps know) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others far darker and more difficult.

Success and failure are equally disastrous.

Whilst once again searching for meaning in my life, I took the time I had to search for comfort in my Bible and in a book called “A course for miracles”. I tried to explain to myself and to my acupuncturist why my soul felt lost when it seemed that I had all the right answers at my fingertips. It then occurred to me that my answers were in time and in the hours that possessed me. There are the hours for joy, for bliss, for confusion… a time to think, a time to worry, a time to smile, a time to laugh and a time to cry… and then there are all the hours in between.

Yesterday is gone and will not pass me again, tomorrow never comes and all I truly have is today and this moment. On this particular hour, I am neither happy nor sad, nor worried. I simply am.
Staring at my computer screen, I write and read everything I’ve written and ask myself after all this harsh truth, what comfort I have to offer my readers? To those that read and bleed with me and spend their hours questioning their decisions and clutching their pillows… searching for the very essence of love and happiness around them. I imagine random faces that read my column and begin their e-mails with “I know what you mean” “I feel exactly the same way” or “Was that me that you wrote about”.
Yes, it is to you I write, it is about you and about me and about any human being that has the courage to feel what life shares with its experiences. I write what I feel in hopes to prove Tennessee Williams wrong when he says we live in solitary confinement. For if you can feel with me for even just a moment, then my every hour’s desire becomes well spent. I recently considered concluding Sunshine’s Column. A particular entry had spoken too loud and too real to a specific person and I decided that perhaps my column carries too much responsibility for a learning spirit as myself. However, time showed me that the particular entry has served its purpose and had healed instead of hurt the reader in question. Instead, I was thanked for my words and asked to continue to share them with those that need to read them.

My friends: accept the fact that you cannot change the world and the system you live in; that the future never comes and that you have everything and everyone you need to be loved and happy. This happiness is set in moments found in the hours that pass you by. Do not let them pass you. Your presence in this life is compulsory and your absence will upset the balance of life. Your every hour is a page in history however insignificant it may seem. Your every thought, word and action has the power to define someone else’s reality and reflects on the course of time. We are all learning the secrets and meanings of life and in the meantime all we can do is our best according to what is right by our hearts. I wish Virginia Woolf knew the impact that her writing would have on her readers, perhaps it would have kept her from suicide. Yet how would she have known in her present, what her future would bring?

My mission I know, has once again been accomplished. Someone, somewhere reading this is smiling and is filled with hope. Knowing that he/she possesses the ability to make a difference. And so I too have made a difference and completed my purpose for the day, tomorrow is another day with the same mission and once again I will try to make the most of my hours.

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the (wo)man who wrote it. – Tennessee Williams
And therefore there will always be the sun and the column that shares the experiences worth reading about – Sunshine.

No comments: