Thursday, February 17, 2022

Given Gaps


(Cover design by Justin Neway; painting by author.)

“Mind the gap!” Loudspeakers in London’s Tube Stations bark out. Between concrete platforms and going elsewhere, one needs mindfulness. All of history would have one aware of the gap between ‘then,’ and now. It is not so much the voids as it is multiple periods of transitions; one is best to practice caution, consideration, and consciousness.

Mind the gap. So it is that five months of intense focus on a project has separated thee from me. Or has it been even longer? Communicating only occasionally, rarely seeing each other, we can feel these great gaps between us. The minutiae of days smudges into months of ordinariness, unless some major event occurs that might best be shared in the moment: Weddings; Funerals; Birthdays; and significant happenstances. These are the milestones of our lives. The rest can be m. o. t. s. (much of the same.) And the days churn into Time’s gap between us; you do not write to me, nor I to you. Compassion for all is our m├ętier.

Mind the gap. So it is that over one hundred Old Boys from The Class of 1970 have each contributed a two-to-three-page essay about the last 50 years of their lives. Intending to encourage and inspire all youths who follow us, the resultant book of Our Stories is to be published, next month, and all proceeds and royalties that the book-sales make shall go as a gift to The School, in perpetuity. And given the privilege of collecting, editing, and formatting the works, as sent in from far-flung outreaches, it has been an intense five months of correspondence, and computer-based focus, and the re-integration of others into our collective lives. The 106 stories are humbling, fascinating, engaging, and challenging too. The gap years between 1970 and now, for each, have proven a trial of searching, encountering, attainments, and enduring. Some essays are profoundly vulnerable. En route the proponents have achieved a sense of enlightenment, wisdom, insight, and peace. For some. For most. Then too, some are still struggling. Living is not equitable. The gaps we mind, for each, vary by degree. Our lives are indeed lessons in the making.

Mind the gap. As differentiated as we are, as long as Time drags between our seeing each other again, between our sharing news, between giving each other a hug, we each have had our days and energy focussed on doing, on being, and on living within the scope of our various interests. And in the background, however subliminally, we’ve been aware of others, been aware of each other, been aware.

Mind the gap. Yes, you’ve been in mind, however ‘now and then’ such mindfulness may be construed. Like leaping from rock to rock in a stream, or turning from day to day in a calendar, the gaps between are vitally important, however minimally we may attend to them, breath for breath, or even in memory.

Mind the gap. Between grade levels, between paradigm shifts, between stages of enlightenment, between you and me there exists the gaps that make for the transition from the concrete discussions about things and people, to the exploration of ideas and hypotheses. That’s where the mind lies, where it creates, in the gaps!

Mind the gap! Distances can be deceptive. Between my shore and that ship, or raft, or the other coast, an ocean of meaning and intent, even as yet unrealized, lies between. It is a gap into which one could drown, or metaphorically, keep swimming. Mindfulness is all. Who?; Where?; What?; When?; are each interesting; but it is the Why? that really intrigues.

Mind the gap! What lies between is the now for now for now. And as we move we are indeed best to appreciate not just where we are going, but how we get there. Step for step. Breath for breath. Gap for gap. Keep caring.