The Moments Between
Are we accountable for the moments between our birth and our death, between time and eternity? How do we mark the hours and days? Make an impact on the universe? How do we live our lives, rather than merely let those moments slip like sand between our fingers? Does it matter? If so, to whom? If not, why bother?
How I use the moments between my birth and eternity matters to me, and I choose to be aware of those moments, the activities that fill them—moments of motion and moments of stillness. I am a believer in “intentional living.” The phrase is used by lots of groups, with various implications. My meaning is quite uncomplicated. I intentionally choose to live in awareness, to imagine, to make judgments and decisions, and act on them, rather than go through life passively. I choose to decide. I decide to live…or die.
My judgment is not always sound, and my decisions are not always the right ones. And when you’re doing your own thing, as you may have noticed, you don’t always have a good enough grasp of what the people around you are doing. (Or even who they are.)
I was born more than 70 years ago within a few miles of where I now live. As a child, I read voraciously, favoring history, natural science, classical literature, science fiction, and Farley’s Black Stallion books. A child of the 50s and 60s, I wanted to go into space, but still I wrote poetry, studied piano and cornet, and loved to swim, to fish, and to walk for many hours at a stretch through the fields and wooded areas that surrounded our town. I was neither social nor sociable until sometime during my college years.
College was a fascinating place to be intellectually, although a nonevent socially. My first two years, including summer school, I studied calculus, chemistry, German, economics, and psychology. I also took a computer programming course, which was a lot of fun. The sciences didn’t work out for me; while I didn’t realize at the time what the problem was, my chemical sensitivities and allergies were taking off. My junior year, I decided on a major in English. With one class left of that major, the summer before my senior year, I decided that I also would complete a major in philosophy. My previous reading in that area was mostly pre-Kant and definitely Western, except for contemporary theology. I went wild on Kierkegaard and Husserl and had a great time reading everything else I could get my hands on.
I took part in peace demonstrations, civil rights protests, sensitivity training workshops, the Model United Nations, and attended rather radical student rallies. Interesting times!
After graduating from college, I found a job as a computer programmer and encountered the world of life insurance. Discovering that while I liked programming and computers, I disliked the corporate environment, I found myself a job as a computer operator for a data processing service that was a subsidiary of a regional bank corporation. Once I got myself situated on the night shifts, rather than straight days, I was content to remain there until corporate reorganization eliminated my job in the 80s.
The world, it seemed, was becoming more “corporate” and uptight and self-conscious, and I couldn’t find anything I really wanted to do for a living, and so I started my own business, writing letters and résumés for other people who were looking for work. The dramatic drop in pay meant the curtailment of my book allowance, but the atmosphere was much more congenial. I expanded my business to include typing and editing academic papers, and so I learned about many new areas of study. A few years later, I registered a trade name: The Written Word (dot net–recently resurrected as a hobby domain).
In the early 90s, I encountered an old friend of mine from the 70s, and we decided to get married. That was
16 28 years ago. Living a life with someone else in it has been…different. Wonderful, but different. The world I lived in both expanded and became more confined. Expanded, because so many new doors opened for exploration and sharing. Confined, because my chemical sensitivities and allergies continued to worsen, and I couldn’t get out as much without feeling ill.
One of the delights was that my husband was involved in photography. He even had a darkroom in the basement of his house. And so when he bought a digital camera, he encouraged me to try it out. That is where my (now former) Quiet Spaces photography business came from. I love taking photographs, and some of the pictures lend themselves to artistic manipulation. Years later, I am still having a wonderful time learning the craft. Other common interests are computers, electronics, astronomy, and literature. Radio electronics was new to me, but I’ve now got an amateur radio license, and for many years, we enjoyed going out storm spotting together and doing volunteer emergency communications work.
Some things stay, and others are left behind. I don’t do much with my music, anymore. I’ve written a couple of good songs, melody and lyrics, but that’s about my limit. While playing scales gives joy to my fingers, I no longer have any real drive to study music. The writing, though, and the art stay with me. That’s why my hobby Web sites and blogs exist (and my commercial ones, which now are no more). The writing and the art remain with me as vocation and avocation, and the Internet is one great big Artist Date. I get to create my own visions and benefit from visiting other people’s, whatever their creation and expression might be.
I hope that something here, among my pages of writings and photographs, will contribute to your own creations and your joy in the remaining moments between now and then.
Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld
Copyright © 2008/2019.
See also: theartofdisorder (wordpress and blogspot), patchworkprose dot com, thewrittenword dot net, straycoffee and quilted poetry (wordpress). I am on dreamwidth, facebook and twitter.