Time Travel. Growing up in Florida during the heady days of the Gemini, Apollo, Spacelab and the early Space Shuttle programs, with a father who worked at NASA by day and kitbashed early home computers with us by night, I was introduced to wild ideas of scientific exploration and futuristic optimism from a very young age. Our family was actually accepted into the pool of future residents of Walt Disney’s dream planned community, the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, which tragically was re-purposed upon Walt’s death; the current polyglot EPCOT doesn’t begin to reflect Disney’s ambitions to build a true resident community. (Look it up! Spoke and Hub distribution models, the swivel doored trash can, the monorail as clean energy public transportation…all Disney inventions to be used at EPCOT!)
Time Travel. One of science fiction’s greatest storytelling platforms, to transport a person from one time period to another, either in far-flung future or perhaps distant past. From literary guideposts like Mark Twain to H.G. Wells, from more recent sci-fi cinema like Interstellar and Arrival (geeks please do keep up here, anyone more socially adept just text me and I will provide references upon request!), not to mention embarrassing rom-coms like Kate and Leopold or The Knight before Christmas (Don’t…just…don’t. Please just take my word on both), time travel is the dramatic gift which keeps on giving! And for the growing ECOT anonymous underground of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, time travel works great for us! You know who you are! (Yes, admittedly I have jumped into the stone circle fountain across Vail Transportation Center atop Bridge Street to grasp the vertical stone in the middle but sadly, nothing has happened…yet.)
Time Travel. I am learning that we need not inhabit some exotic sci-fi plot to accomplish it after all. A national virus contagion will do the trick nicely! Haven’t you felt time-displaced this past week?! Neighbors walking by the literal dozens with dogs who suddenly feel like they own the world with all the new attention they are receiving! Families cooking together. Puzzling together. (So working a puzzle is now the new “analog therapy modality?!” Really?! Pretty fancy name for solving a puzzle to calm the mind!) Reading together. Students working on assignments at home. Parents learning how to home school. Folks sitting outside in circles in the driveway. Nowhere to jet off to. No hectic schedules to keep from early morning until well past dark. Just…a….bit…slower. It feels to me like we have all been transported to an earlier age.
The church came from this kind of world. The kind where praying twice a day did not seem unreasonable to begin and end the day. The kind where families spent far, far more time together in a day than entropically exploding early morning and exhaustedly re-uniting late in a day. The kind of world where reading was a primary way to learn, travel and experience realities not your own. The kind where things shut down when the sun went down. The world where one could prepare, serve, eat and clean up from a meal as a normative daily habit most every day. I hate this virus and the hardships it has visited upon our species, but this experience of community time travel to a slower paced reality…..with no space ships, time machines or ancient Celtic standing stones?! With my apologies for a longer reflection today…
- How have you experienced the existential shift in your daily pace? Has there been any unexpected, personal blessing in the midst of this community challenge?
- Are there any habits, experiences or older rhythms which are re-presenting themselves during this time?
- How does this moment invite us to experience God’s presence in a different way?