Renee and I like to stay in our seats in the theater after the movie is over and watch the credits all of the way through, until they turn the lights on and the people with trash cans and cleaning equipment come in.

In one sense, it has something to do with getting our money’s worth: “We paid top dollar for this and we’re going to get every penny’s worth!” In other ways, it’s just delaying our return to reality. It’s an opportunity to let things settle, like lingering at the table after a good meal with a cup of coffee and some meaningful conversation.

The movie credits can be pretty interesting, actually. The names are fun (like Soo Hugh, which we saw tonight), and the soundtrack info is nearly the last thing on the credits just before the part that says something like, “The characters are all fictitious and no animals were hurt in filming this movie.” I like to see the music info, especially if any of the songs were interesting. Mostly, though, I just like to let the magic of the movie settle in, like waking up slowly on a Sunday morning and waiting for the kids to stir and start piling on my bed.

A book I read once about an ancient Celtic fantasy referred to such moments as the “time between the times.” Those were the moments when the sun’s rays have just peaked over the horizon or fallen below the other horizon, and it’s hard to know what to call it – day or night. A little of both is the truth of the matter. In those moments in the book, people who were in the right places, doing the right things, could pass between worlds; between the modern world and that ancient Celtic land.

I love that! That’s like pixie dust: mixed with some happy thoughts, it can make you capable of flying. Happy thoughts alone can’t do that.

We all could use a little more lingering in that dreamy state between the times, passing in and out of this world. We don’t need that so we can escape reality. We need it to find reality. We need to find the reality of things that are unseen, things that are true but not obvious, like art and poetry, like the music playing during the credits – things that can’t be verbalized or recognized, or even defined.

Somewhere in that time between the times, between the reality and the imaginary, my humanity interacts with the spiritual things that permeate our environment. Of course, I don’t mean the time during the movie credits, necessarily, but perhaps at that time, as well. If I move too quickly back into the light of day, to the next task on the list, to the next meeting or moment, I may miss the most valuable opportunity. (Yes, those spiritual things that surround us call for some strong discernment, especially in a dark movie theater, but I often wonder how much the fear of darkness keeps us from the light.)

I want to linger where I can feel Jesus actually living inside of me, rather than just repeating the cliche that taught me he does.

Maybe that’s too much to expect from a dark theater with the credits rolling and a lap full of popcorn and line of people heading for the exit, but what moment in my life could possibly be a good time to sense the creator of everything alive in me?

Maybe all the time . . . or any time . . . but please, oh please!, let me sense that some of the time.

Now that I think of it, maybe this is also the reason why we’re typically the last to leave our church after services. Maybe it’s also why we’re late to everything. No, that’s probably because we have 10 kids.

In any case, it seems to me that lingering is way underrated.

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2 thoughts on “lingering

  1. Thanks, Dale! What a beautiful gift. On a morning when things aren’t going so well and the first thing I choose to do is check my email – which I haven’t done in a long time – I find you and your rambling. It makes me laugh and it makes me cry, and I find myself feeling better in spite of everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your family, and your love of God with me. I love to read what you write. Sometimes I find myself so busy that I forget to find the beauty or pleasure in every new day – you gave that to me this morning. I love you so much and these writings make me miss you more than I thought possible. I look forward to your next blog and will check my email more frequently. Love from your “big sister”, Alisa.

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