Only a certain number of times.

“We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Paul Bowles in The Sheltering Sky

7 thoughts on “Only a certain number of times.

  1. I’ve thought of this when I’ve finished breastfeeding a baby, or changed a diaper (in days past). There was a last time, though I wasn’t aware of it at that particular moment.


  2. yes, it all seems limitless because it IS limitless — that’s why our souls and minds intuitively KNOW this. We are designed to watch moon rises for eternity on the New Earth. We are designed to remember for eternity our childhoods and the happy moments. I truly believe this.


  3. These words fell into my lap this morning, and reminded me of this post: “Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” There was an ending, a last communion, for Jesus and his friends. And he KNEW it was the last. But really … it was only the first, wasn’t it! A beginning, a first communion for the church, and the first of an endless number of those meals we will eat with him eternally.


  4. I also woke up thinking about this idea, and your first comment, Mary Kathryn. Perhaps in the New Earth, as it is called, the things we remember from the Old, what is our present life, will be those that were a foretaste, as in your example of the Lord’s Supper. Too many of my memories are bittersweet, or just plain bitter, so I don’t expect to retain them the same way I do in this life. “The former things are passed away,” as an old hymn says, and the New may be, as C.S. Lewis describes, so much more real and substantial that even the best of the Former will seem vague and shadowy to us. Who knows? To be in the unclouded presence of God is something that in my earthly and earthy state I can’t even imagine.


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