I follow Liz Gilbert on social media, author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” A few years ago, when she shared the terminal illness of her partner, Liz received thousands of comments in support, empathy, encouragement and love.
As I scrolled through the beautiful sentiments readers from all of the word had for Liz, I found myself in awe of a space that was uplifting in someone’s deepest pain. Social media isn’t typically known for this, and despite the circumstances, actually, in light of, I took a decent chunk of time to read through them.
One of these comments included a line from a Brazilian poet, Vinícius de Moraes, that loosely translates to “may it be infinite while it lasts”.
Infinity in a finite amount of time of space. It blew me away. I had never thought of it that way, but I know I had lived it. Feeling the weight of an eight month deployment looming heavier and unbearable on my shoulders (and let’s be honest, my chest too - that feeling doesn’t take your breath away but hinders it completely, feeling like you can only take shallow breaths that just keep you alive for weeks and months on end) had felt that way.
I tried to savor and soak in as many moments as I could, that fall of 2012… the Old Spice/Tide Sport scent of his sweatshirt, the stride of the way he walked, the sound of “I love you, so much”, the way his eye wrinkles appear when he laughs, the surrender of letting it all go, found only in embrace of his hug, but wondering if the last embrace in that Army motorpool at Fort Drum was the last one I’d ever feel. I know what it’s like to scratch and claw at a finite amount of time and try to make it last forever.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to live that way. More often than not, too often even, we find our minds watching two kinds of movies - that of our past, and that of worries concerning about the future. While it is imperative to take accountability of what has happened and to mentally prepare for what lies ahead, there is a great amount of wisdom in marinating in this moment and permitting yourself the grace to be in the moment, to let is be “infinite while it lasts”.
Friends have silver bracelets with scripty fonts that say “breathe” and “thankful, grateful, blessed”, but this line, thankfully translated to a famous author on Facebook, resonated with me so profoundly that I had Beckett Metal make it into a ring for me, worn on the middle finger of my dominant hand. I didn’t want everyday life to allow me to forget the moments that could be made infinite. I need only allow myself stop and make it so, and remember it is because of the One, the Creator, who is infinite is all ways and all things.