The rules of the universe, as I know it, are these: Reach, Hold, and Pass On.
We are all given a tiny piece of the universe to call our own. We keep it only for a moment, a breath, until it escapes our grasp and goes tumbling back into the sea of everything. For a brief, tiny fraction of a millisecond, we capture the light and we hold it. We let it burn our fingers. We let it blind our eyes. We let it consume us for a moment, and a moment only.
But in that moment, it is ours.
We own it. We tend to it. We keep it alive.
And that’s what we’re all doing – capturing spurts of light on the tips of our fingers and holding on desperately, insanely, because holding on is the thing to do. It’s what we know. It’s what we define ourselves by.
Because our lives are indeed defined by the way we catch things and let them go. We hold onto people, sometimes grasping their hands in ours, sometimes heaving them over our shoulders and stumbling on, our bodies straining with the weight of them. We stretch out our hands and we scoop up dreams from the well of God-knows-where and we make them ours. We take light from the universe like children snatching fireflies from the summer air.
Then we hold it. We keep it. We stuff it in our pockets or we shove it in our purses or we tuck it safely away in file cabinets where we think the world can’t reach it. We make our music and we write our poetry and we have our conversations and we feel so infinite doing it, but the time in which we hold the light in our hands is not so infinite. We are not so immortal.
But the light is. It reaches different carriers, it finds new vessels, but it never ends. It is never put out. It just bounces back out into the world in a different way, in another form. This is the part of the process we struggle with – the most complicated aspect of the deal we all agreed to.
We have to pass it on.
Our lives do not stand the test of time. Our time here on earth is limited, our days numbered, our moments fleeting. We will move from this place to the next place, wherever the next place may be. And some will be forgotten almost instantaneously. Others will be remembered for a brief while, in photographs or in between the pages of a history textbook. But eventually we will fade. We do not get to keep the light. Our hands will grow too transparent here to hold it.
So we must let it go. We must leave it behind. Whatever ways you managed to shape the light while you had it while remain a part of its memory forever, but you will not be there to trace its impact. Your legacy will be kept absorbed in that ball of light as it goes shooting into the stars of forever but you… you, my friend, will go on. You’ll find new light.
I cannot guarantee there is light where we’re going. I can only have faith, and faith tells me there is more to us, more to our story, than we know.
So until we unveil the mystery, we’ll just keep doing what we do best.
Reaching, holding, and passing on.