T is taking a year away from school. He is a diligent student but was eager to step away from the traditional flow to give himself a chance to approach high school with greater intention. Stepping away from the treadmill is an opportunity to clarify his personal interests and become more familiar with his strengths and challenges. We once designed an entire program for students wishing to take a year away from traditional school between middle school and high school, similar to a gap year between high school and college. We called it The Bridge Year. Our friend, Frank, described it as “the gift of time”. The program did not launch, but T is now living its potential, a year off of life’s treadmill to identify and live among his own priorities and expectations.
While T found that he needed to get away from school, I have gone back to school. After a full academic career as a young person and 25 post-school years of living and working, I am taking time for personal exploration in a new direction. I needed the structure of a program to focus and guide my inquiry. A year of spiritual study and personal exploration is my opportunity to nurture the emergent, powerful Grace that I feel both in me and around me.
For both T and me, the opportunity to do something different is expanding our sense of possibility. The richness of the possibilities with us now place us very fully within each moment. Within those moments, the tyranny of time has dissolved. Our days are well balanced and organic – filled with reading, playing, walking, working, writing, and rich conversations. At once, we have both all time and no time. This is not timelessness; It is more like a time-full-ness — each moment so full of the now that it also contains future and past without aspiration or regret.
Early in the fall, I caught myself wondering what would be next? Where would these non-traditional paths take us? Those annoying questions still emerge periodically, but they intrude less often. We are simply here, now, living each day fully. That is to say, days are full of will, goodness, presence and meaning.
It seems the gift of time is to simply dwell deeply within it.