It’s so easy to walk around reality like it’s full of things, like I am an object in a universe of objects. Bouncing off some, rearranging others. Things change – flowers bloom, the trees turn green and then the leaves turn and are gone, I change my mind – but things change. That’s how I think of it.
I’m learning it’s closer to reality to say things are change.
Physicist Carlo Rovelli says the world consists not so much of things, like stones, as of happenings, like kisses. (He has a marvelous interview at On Being.) By high school I’d learned that matter mostly consists of space, no matter how solid it may seem. And reality continues to astound me – there is a sense in which electrons only exist when they interact.
I remember first encountering physics in the “children’s” fiction of Madeleine L’Engle. Later, my college English Lit professor started class with a devotion on chaos theory. Physics has always felt a lot like spirituality to me. And maybe that’s exactly what it is.
I’m not a spirit with a body; I am both body and spirit. Both are me.
And I am at every moment a happening. A laugh, a meeting, a passion, an argument, a grief, a conversation, a dance, a race, a rest, a longing, a kiss.
So are you.
And I confess I don’t always see you that way. I spent too long in books, and it’s too easy for me to see you as a character, already written and bound by what is there.
It’s too easy to see everything as an unfolding story, pushed ahead by what’s already been told.
But the story starts today. Every day. The story is what we make it as we happen to the world. As the world happens to us. As we happen to each other.
And we happen to each other a lot, for good and for ill. For blessing and for cursing. For life and for death.
That’s what reality is.
I’m sorry when I forget, when I start trying to write your story, or think I know how it ends. I don’t.
I hope I can keep hoping, though, for the good endings. I hope we can collaborate – I think we do, even when we’re trying to ignore each other. But I’d like to do it with joy, and with gratitude.
I’d like you and I to dance our way into reality.