Have you ever heard that on a clear night when you can see the stars shining brightly above, that some of the light you are seeing is really just light traveling through time? That the star is essentially gone, yet its light is still coming our way, like a memory burned into our minds? The person is long gone, yet their memory shines very brightly inside of us.
When I was a child I used to think that my time here was limitless. "When I am old and in my 50's that will be in the next century! That is so far away!" And those thoughts seemed like they happened yesterday. I remember the moment they happened, the 5th-grade class, the two teachers - Mrs. Jones and Mr. Schwartz that taught my group. I remember the tan-colored tables, and the bright-colored, stackable plastic chairs, the waist-high bookshelves, and the very 70s carpet design. At one point in our studies, they talked about the next century, the year 2000, and they made me wonder about my time living on earth. I thought about my own mortality. A rare thing for an adolescent, but all the same, I did dwell on the thought for a few seconds. And then it was gone. A bell rang, a classmate shot me with a rubber band, I noticed a cute girl sitting nearby, I smelled the cafeteria hot lunch drifting down the hallway...who knows. But, the thought was gone. At that point in life, all you know is life. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I see a lot more of the opposite.
My father was not big into fireworks. But I remember during his final curtain call of life, he asked me to take him to watch a fireworks show near his home in Statesboro, Georgia. Cancer had taken its toll on him and he was weak. We found a spot a short drive away and watched the explosions above us from the comfort of the air-conditioned car. I remember glancing at him and seeing a big smile on his face. At times, I thought I saw the glistening of a tear like that of a shiny pearl perched in the crease of his eye. All the lousy chemo, pain, and suffering were put on hold for just a few minutes of time. And something so simple as a fireworks show gave him reprieve and enjoyment if only for minutes of time. But minutes were treasured and minutes without pain because of a distraction were even better.
When you walk down the isles at an airport to get to your concourse destination you are in the terminals. Terminal means the end. The path ends, but the journey doesn't. You catch a plane and fly somewhere else. Hopefully, somewhere enjoyable, somewhere fresh, somewhere new, where the fireworks of life are bright and awe-inspiring. I like to hope that whenever that day comes, we all get to experience a great fireworks show, whatever that might be. And afterwards, that flight we take will be the best trip ever.